As cases of COVID-19 have increased in the state of Colorado and its mountain communities, EMS Unlimited has been collaborating with regional health partners across the Western Slope and beyond. Additionally, both reactive and proactive measures are being taken to reduce or limit staff exposures, supply adequate and proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and finding ways to serve our local communities. Lastly, EMS Unlimited is remaining in close contact with its special event customers to ensure our Events Division doesn’t miss a beat when they are allowed to resume.
“Every day there are conference calls, often many, between EMS providers and hospitals,” explains EMS Unlimited’s Designated Infection Control Officer (DICO) Mike Crosby. “That includes internal EMS Unlimited leadership planning, external interoperable EMS agency collaborations and surge-response planning, we’re communicating regularly.”
Crosby took over the role as DICO in January, and quickly started establishing all new protocols and procedures to prepare for COVID-19. One of the first steps was focusing on personal protective equipment—both what types of PPE needed to be worn by staff and enforcing the training to properly put on and take off their PPE when transporting and interacting with patients. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 patients (or presumptive positive patients) has changed rapidly as the outbreak has intensified, meaning that a large part of Crosby’s work has been keeping tabs on new information coming from the CDC and regional public health officials in Colorado.
“All the local public health agencies are saying that [COVID-19 cases are] going to escalate a lot in the coming weeks, and we’re just trying to get ready for that,” says Crosby. “I’m in constant contact with our transport teams to let them know the latest and communicating any new protocols.”
EMS Unlimited’s transport teams are working with healthcare centers in the area to assist with the expected surge of critical COVID-19 patients that will need to be transported to other facilities. Part of the response includes enlisting the help of EMS Unlimited’s vast events staff— RNs, paramedics and EMTs who generally work as on-site medical staff for any number of special events—to work as additional transport teams, hospital staffing, and COVID19 testing sites. EMS Unlimited has partnered Classic Air Medical—an air ambulance company with teams in Glenwood Springs, Craig, and Steamboat Springs—to have their locally based flight crew assist in ground transports of critical COVID-19 patients. Crosby says the collaborative effort of regional health partners has been one of the bright spots during the outbreak.
“A large part of the regional response has been getting everyone on the same page as far as procedures and protocols, making sure that everyone has the right amount of PPE because we’re all kind of sharing depending on who’s running low,” he says. “We’re very much working together.”
EMS Unlimited values a culture of teamwork, we are working collaboratively with many partners and exploring all options to be of service while working diligently to stay connected to every member of team.
“Everyday I am taken aback by the professionalism and motivation our team has shown in how everyone is rising to the occasion,” said EMS Unlimited President and Paramedic Ebin Latrimurti. “These are challenging times, but there is most certainly a silver lining to be found in the exceptional response everyone at EMS Unlimited has demonstrated.”