MEDFORD, Ore. – Mercy Flights says its prepared for any kind of infectious disease, including COVID-19 coronavirus.
Right now, 911 operators are using screening procedures as calls come in.
“They’ll ask patients who have presented as a risk of COVID-19, specific questions that help pre-identify if they have a potential risk that first responders need to know about,” said Matt Philbrick, Mercy Flights Medical Operations Manager.
Some of the questions have to do with recent travel and exposure to individuals who have recently traveled.
“That information is transmitted to first responders and our folks take the appropriate precautions when responding,” said Philbrick.
Mercy Flights says dealing with infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, is nothing new.
“Mercy Flights has a really in-depth procedure for infectious diseases and that has existed long before COVID-19 worldwide outbreak,” said Philbrick.
That procedure includes, in depth cleaning on all Mercy Flights ambulances.
“That includes wiping down all of our equipment, making sure any surface is wiped down with a heavy-duty cleaner and then providing protection for our patients with personal protective equipment,” said Philbrick, “which includes gloves, masks, and face shields if necessary.”
Even though Mercy Flights is prepared, calling 911 should be saved only for emergencies.
“If you feel like you have the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus the best thing you can do is call your primary care physician and inform them, “says Philbrick, “if you’re having an emergency call 911.”