Local EMS workers have changed the type of gear they now wear since the county is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. SUBMITTED

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, protective equipment and disinfection processes have become an even more important part of medical professionals’ fight to slow the spread of the virus and protect themselves.


As this time, Robertson County’s Emergency Medical Services continues to remain fully staffed and have not reported any shortage of personal protective equipment, unlike many other areas around the country. 


“We’re constantly ordering more (equipment) to make sure we have a healthy supply,” Assistant Director Russell Gupton said. “Right now, we’re stable, and our crews are fully protected. We’re not putting them in any situation where they can’t be protected.”


EMS staff have been wearing additional personal protective equipment during this time. While EMS crews normally wear gloves out in the field, they are now wearing masks, gowns, protective shoe covers, disinfectant wipes, glasses, goggles and for extreme cases, gas masks with a biological filter. In the event that a coronavirus positive patient on a ventilator needed transfer, EMS crews would be dressed in a full suit and gas mask.


Although EMS already uses extensive disinfection measures, Gupton explained that even more disinfection measures are being taken to help protect EMS professionals and those they help. If they were to encounter a COVID-19 positive patience or suspected positive, lengthy disinfection measures would take place which includes a health care UV lamp in the ambulance as well as medical grade cleaning agents.


“In healthcare, you do a lot of cleaning anyways, but now we’re doing a lot of excessive decontamination, almost to a large degree,” Gupton said. “We’re using a lot more cleaning supplies (and) a lot more protective equipment than we would normally use like masks and gowns.”


Everyday EMS, Emergency Management Agency, the NorthCrest command staff and other medical agencies have a conference call to keep all departments up to date on the testing traffic at the fairgrounds and resources within the county. Three times a week, EMS also has a conference call with the Middle Tennessee EMS directors to discuss how other counties are handling the coronavirus and what obstacle they may be encountering. 


“We’re really fortunate, and it’s something that in emergency services, you always plan for the worst,” Gupton said. “We have to be able to operate like we always do, so we just had to make a few adjustments to be able to accommodate all of this. We’re still here and still responding to calls.”

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