MIAMI – As concern continues to grow over the outbreak of COVID-19, it's not just the general public taking precautions to stay safe.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidelines to first reponders handling calls related to potential COVID-19 patients.
For emergency management services, personal protective equipment like eye protection, gowns, gloves and facemasks continue to be recommended.
The City of Hialeah Fire Department went so far as to tweet a photo of what crews will be wearing when responding to patients displaying coronavirus-like symptoms.
Out of an abundance of caution, #HFD crews will be wearing proper personal protective equipment (shown below) when responding to incidents of patients possibly displaying signs and symptoms of #COVID19 Please don’t be alarmed! Our top priority is to keep the community safe. pic.twitter.com/3VR7KCMsmV— City of Hialeah Fire Department (@HialeahFD) March 14, 2020
In Miami Beach, fire department personnel are being screened prior to every shift in order to "confirm they are in the best health to properly serve our community."
Prior to the start of each shift, as personnel arrives, we screen them to confirm they are in the best health to properly serve our community.— Miami Beach Fire (@MiamiBeachFire) March 16, 2020
We’re all in this together #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/oY4TkwRdoN
"We worry a first responder gets (coronavirus) and then a couple of fire houses are down," said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
Jennifer Moon, Deputy Mayor of Miami-Dade County, said that proper equipment and supplies have been purchased to ensure all first responders are protected.
"We also are setting up options for testing so that there can be a quick turnaround should there be a situation where somebody feels like they have been exposed," Moon said.
The CDC also recommends that any patient should wear a facemask for "source control" and that during transport, there should be a limited number of people in the patient compartment area in order to minimize exposures.
As for police officers, the CDC is telling law enforcement agencies to maintain a distance of at least six feet, to avoid exposure, to not touch their faces with unwashed hands, and to have a trained emergency medical technician assess and transport someone who may be displaying symptoms to a healthcare facility.