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How Are Ambulances Kept Safe During COVID?

ambulance-lights_becca-costello_1u4a9822_edit_bb.jpg

Hospitals have implemented countless precautions this year to keep patients and staff safe during the novel coronavirus.

But how are they protecting ambulances? It’s a question put to City Limits multiple times by readers and listeners.

According to Kelly Mullis, IU Health South Central Region EMS director, they’ve enhanced existing procedures.

“We always did good cleaning after every patient,” Mullis said. “You know, wipe down any surfaces that the patient may have touched, just as routine.”

Now, each emergency call begins with a checklist to determine if the patient has COVID or is showing symptoms.

“That situation would require full protective equipment, including mask, gown, goggles, gloves, the whole nine yards,” Mullis said.

Those who are COVID-positive are given an N95 mask to wear. If they aren’t a “high-acuity” patient and can wait, a designated COVID ambulance is used. Pre-pandemic, a family member might be able to ride in the back with the patient to the hospital, but the lack of space no longer allows for riders.

The ambulance itself now has plexiglass separating the patient compartment and the cab. Most EMS teams consist of two members: a paramedic and EMT. Everyone in the vehicle is required to wear a mask.

“In an ambulance, you cannot socially distance when you're caring for a patient sitting at their bedside, same as a nurse or caregiver,” Mullis said. “So we wear masks both directions (and) gloves. And then just in case someone might not have symptoms, we go ahead and extensively clean the ambulances.”

Mullis says she is not aware of any local cases of coronavirus that can be traced back to an ambulance.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

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