Paramedics, EMTs say they’re ready to respond, prevent spread of coronavirus

Posted: Updated:

As coronavirus numbers continue to grow across Westchester, local emergency service providers are on the front line responding to dozens of calls every day from concerned residents.

Westchester has at least 30 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Paramedics and EMTs at Empress Emergency Medical Services say they are receiving calls every day from people who think they may have the virus.

While patient calls are screened immediately, Empress EMS says they are following the usual protocol for flu season with a few extra steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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“We also are screening our patients using a questionnaire once we get to the scene whether they’re make the criteria for coronavirus,” says Empress EMS Operations Captain AJ Briones.

When responding to possible coronavirus patients, first responders use isolation kits, which consist of a plastic gown, goggles, gloves, face masks -- which the patient also uses -- and a biohazard bag for all contaminated items. All the items are used as an abundance of caution.

And if symptoms are present, EMS personnel will either bring patients to the hospital or directly to quarantine locations.

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Empress EMS says they receive dozens of calls each day from people who think they are showing symptoms.

From the influx of calls to a national shortage of face masks, paramedics are asking people to be vigilant, but avoid the overreaction, especially on social media.

"Panic is spreading all around. It makes it very hard for all of us," Briones adds.

Instead, they encouraged residents to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines on proper hand and respiratory hygiene.

"Stay safe, maintain your distances. We'll get through this," Briones says.

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