First responders are trying minimize the spread of the coronavirus, and they’re now taking additional precautions. Ambulance services like Kunkel are completely sanitizing every piece of equipment after every call. Kunkel Ambulance’s Director Vinny Faraone says it’s just the first of many steps taken.
"We sanitize in between patients you know, so people shouldn’t be concerned. Again what the public needs to understand is we take this very serious because we want to protect ourselves also. By protecting ourselves, we’re protecting the public."
Fire Departments in Utica and Rome are asking asking 911 callers who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to meet outside of their home or place of business when possible. First responders are sending the same amount of personnel to a scene, but if they can, only one person is making direct contact with a patient. Faraone says the screening process is becoming more intense as well.
"We’re sending the ambulance provider in communication with every receiving hospital, so the hospital can ask specific questions. Then hospitals will determine which door we’re going to use, and what procedures are going to be followed there."
First responders will be wearing full body suits if there is a confirmed coronavirus case, but are now using face shields to protect from pathogens entering the eyes and nose. It may sound bad, but these are the people that are more likely to come into direct contact with an infected patient.
"They just really need to not panic, be smart, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands, and avoid as much contact as you possibly can. If we suspect it’s any type of flu, we’re going to mask up at least. At minimal we’re going to mask up anyway, so as not to spread any germs. We’re going to put a mask on patients, and patients should not be concerned."
There are more and more people wearing masks in public, but there is a right way and a wrong way to wear a mask. The mask should fit fairly tight all the way around the face, with the blue side facing out if you’re trying to protect YOURSELF from germs, and the white side facing out if you’re trying to protect people FROM GETTING the germs.