How EMS is Handling COVID-19 & Suspected Cases

There is a lot going on in the world today, and we wanted to take a moment to tell you what the Town of Colonie Emergency Medical Services is doing to make sure we keep everyone safe. First and foremost, your well-being continues to be our priority, and by extension your family, our staff, and the general public. Our intention is to share our information with everyone and to provide accurate information in our current situation.

Here are some things we want you to know HAVE NOT CHANGED by the COVID-19 situation:

Our Communication Center and 911 dispatchers continue to operate as normal. When you call 911, the moment we know where you are and what you need, an ambulance, police unit or fire apparatus is immediately dispatched.

Our crews disinfect all equipment at the beginning of their shift, after every patient encounter and before they leave to go home. The heightened awareness of COVID-19 has given everyone a reminder of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene.

All Emergency Service personnel have been trained and are equipped with protective measures to stop the spread of disease. Equipment such as masks, goggles, and isolation gowns have been appropriately used in the past to prevent transmission, and we continue to utilize these methods when appropriate.

The Center for Disease Control, and World Health Organization continue to update the information about COVID-19, and their recommendation for safety precautions continue to drive the care and service that we provide and the measures we take to ensure everyone’s safety.

Based on that information, here are some things you may encounter due to the COVID-19 situation:

  • When on the phone with 911, you may be asked a series of questions regarding any symptoms or exposure risks that may exist. There are Infectious disease surveillance features within the dispatch questioning so please answer the questions to the absolute best of your knowledge. Please remember, the service you are requesting is already on the way – this is not delaying any response but rather ensuring you get the appropriate response and our crews are best prepared to take care of you.
    • The CDC’s most recent case definition of risk for COVID-19 is:
      • Fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough difficulty breathing)
      • AND/OR any person including health care workers who have had close contact with a lab confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptoms OR a history of travel from a geographically affected area (China, Iran, Japan, S. Korea) within 14 days of symptom onset.
    • You may be asked to wear a mask while emergency personnel are present. Even if you are not the sick person, we still need to protect everyone from any potential sources of infection until proper screening can occur.
    • We may need to alter our policy on Family and Friends accompanying patients in the ambulance. Please understand that our actions are to ensure the safety of everyone we encounter and limiting the amount of people in and out of Hospitals is important in these situations to prevent inadvertent exposures.
    • Patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may be kept separate from other patients in the Hospital. Any risk of exposure to bystanders or family and friends may qualify them to be part of the quarantine even in the absence of symptoms.

We are all part of the same community – locally and at large.

We share your concern and at times frustration. Although you are being asked to keep your distance for the time being, it is an opportunity for our community to become closer.

Together as we head forward through this epidemic, the importance of open communication and cooperation could not be more important. The simple acts of helping out, and slight changes in daily routine can exponentially add up to the greatest good for everyone.

The Town of Colonie Emergency Medical Services stands to do our part to help everyone, and we appreciate any assistance from our community along the way.