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Prince Edward Rescue Squad changes COVID-19 response

The Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad (PEVRS) has changed how it will respond to medical calls involving flu-like symptoms, as highlighted in a Tuesday, March 17, press release.

The release also included instructions for when people in the community should call 911 and instructions for how they should respond to symptoms consistent with the flu or potentially the coronavirus.

“In an effort to minimize the spread and reduce the risk to all, we are asking our community members to please utilize 911 requests for emergencies only,” PEVRS officials said.

These emergencies include, but are not limited to, life-threatening injuries or illness, motor vehicle accidents, fire or hazardous-related incidents, etc.

“As a community, we must all do our part to flatten the curve and ensure we do not overstress our emergency response and hospital resources,” officials stated. 

They added that local emergency resources need to be able to help those in dire need, and people in the area can help.

“If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with influenza or potentially the coronavirus, contact your primary care physician first,” officials said.

They noted if the person experiencing the symptoms is instructed to call 911, there are specific questions the dispatcher will ask them. These questions assist PEVRS in preparing to respond to their aid. 

“The way in which we respond to medical calls involving flu-like symptoms has changed,” officials said, adding that callers can expect the following: 

  • When providers arrive, the responders will be wearing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to mitigate the spread of potential viruses. 
  • PEVRS is trying to utilize only one ambulance for calls screened as high risk and also taking additional steps to decontaminate all ambulances between all calls to reduce the possibility of cross contamination to other patients. 
  • Providers will evaluate and assess the patient’s current condition, symptoms and associated risk factors. Depending on individual circumstances, PEVRS may recommend self-quarantine. Alternatively, based on the assessment PEVRS may recommend transport. If self-quarantine is recommended, the provider will provide the patient with printed guidance and instructions for follow up with a primary care physician. This is not to prevent treatment but to assist in mitigating the stress at local hospitals. 

“Rest assured, if you specifically ask to be transported after our evaluation, we will still transport you to the nearest facility that can assist you,” officials stated. “We will never decline medical treatment. We ask that you work with us during these times. This is for the overall health and safety of our entire community.”