Download PDF Report Emergency medical services systems and providers are on the front lines of the health response to large-scale disasters, including COVID. EMS professionals in the United States have provided medical care and transportation during pandemic influenzas, importations of Ebola, and other high-consequence pathogens, but none have had the widespread systemic effects of COVID. Because of the unpredictable and, at times, chaotic nature of EMS practice, EMS providers face different occupational health risks compared with hospital-based clinicians. Infection control and prevention practices in EMS rely primarily on the provision and proper use of PPE and on universal precautions, such as hand hygiene. However, like other healthcare workers, EMS providers have been facing serious shortages of PPE. EMS agencies chronically struggle with inadequate funding, which limits their ability to stockpile appropriate PPE.51 As such, COVID is taking a dramatic toll on the EMS workforce in the hardest-hit areas. Amid record-high call volumes, it was reported that 1 in every 4 New York fire department EMS providers had called in sick and that roughly 10% of the workforce had tested positive for COVID.52 A similar but perhaps less dramatic strain on EMS is expected in other states with increasing COVID transmission….

This content is available only to AAA members.
Log In or Register
Print Friendly, PDF & Email