Indianapolis EMS rolls out new protocols ahead of expected surge in COVID-19 patients

Posted at 5:57 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 17:57:14-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis EMS crews will start treating people on scene to avoid taking patients to the hospital who can recover at home.

New protocols, which go into effect Friday, allow paramedics to use their training and expertise to treat patients and allow them to remain at home when possible, according to a statement from the city.

The new protocols hope to help keep non-COVID-19 patients from being exposed to the virus and reduce the burden on healthcare services, according to the statement. A surge of patients with acute care needs is expected in the coming weeks.

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“Through this entire process, area emergency medical leaders have taken early steps to prepare for the response to COVID-19,” said Dr. Dan O’Donnell, chief of Indianapolis EMS, in the statement. “This is from maintaining a stockpile of PPE to now adjusting our response strategies to provide the most appropriate medical treatment that protects everyone. This is going to be a long process, and while we are not overwhelmed, we must make adjustments and further preparations to minimize potential strain wherever possible.”

When calling 911 or first responders, you are asked to provide as much information to emergency dispatchers as possible, like any flu-like symptoms you or anyone else around you may have. If you are able to, first responders are asking you to meet them at the front door or porch to help prevent any unnecessary exposures.

If you have general, non-emergency questions regarding COVID-19, city officials are asking you to call 1-877-826-0011.