Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Effective March 4th, NWCTPS is enhancing our screening measures with callers in an attempt to maintain the safety of our first responders.

What is COVID-19? Per the May Clinic, a new virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that began in China. The disease is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The virus is a type of coronavirus — a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Because this virus is so new, not much is known about it yet. Public health groups, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are investigating. Check their websites for updates.
The new coronavirus appears to be spreading from person to person. It may be spread by respiratory droplets when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. It's unclear exactly how contagious the virus is.

What are the changes at NWCTPS as a result of this? Effective March 4th, NWCTPS will begin to add additional screening questions to help protect our first responders and alert them of suspected coronavirus cases. These additional questions will occur during the EMD process using the Emerging Infectious Diseases Surveillance Tool. The EIDS Tool will be used during Protocol 6 (Breathing Problems) or Protocol 26 (Sick Person), however, it could also be used when the call taker or dispatcher feels it appropriate.

The CDC recommends the following precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren't clean.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Clean surfaces you often touch.
  • Stay home from work, school and public areas if you're sick.

Published on March 4, 2020