BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Hall Ambulance has shed some light on how it is responding to COVID-19 cases in Kern County.
The company said its communications center is utilizing the Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance (EIDS) tool to assist with identifying suspected COVID-19 patients. Working together with Kern County’s Emergency Communications Center, Hall Ambulance said EIDS helps dispatchers in ascertaining if a patient is exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
The company said the EIDS allows dispatchers to divert from the standard line of questioning with a caller and prompts them to ask questions specifically pertaining to COVID-19 symptoms.
When a caller answers positive to the questioning, the company said the dispatcher will alert the crew for the need for personal protective equipment.
Once the ambulance arrives, a paramedic or EMT will attempt to interview the patient from a six-foot distance to ascertain if full protective equipment is required. If it is, the crew will don a gown, gloves, face shield and either a surgical mask or N95 mask.
“The EMS crew will also place a surgical mask on the patient,” Hall Ambulance said.
After the transport of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient, the ambulance is placed out of service to be sanitized. The company said the ambulance then undergoes a stringent decontamination process, which takes more than two hours to complete.
Hall Ambulance said this is performed by two decontamination technicians in protective gear as well as a manager who works from a safe zone to observe and documents the decontamination process.
The company said decontamination includes a deep cleaning with a bleach-based product, monitored control of waste from the ambulance and extra protection for the workers decontaminating the emergency vehicle.
Before logging on to their shift, every employee undergoes a screening process to check for temperature and answer a series of questions to detect whether they are fit for duty, according to Hall Ambulance.
“If their response or temperature does not meet standards, the employee is not able to work that day and they are advised to contact their healthcare provider,” the company said.