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REMSA’s Response to COVID-19

Below are a list of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and county-related resources. REMSA has also received inquiries about donating goods and services to our front line healthcare providers. Please visit our donation page to learn more.

Continue to scroll down for REMSA and Care Flight’s response to COVID-19.

Residents of Washoe County
Washoe County/REMSA COVID-19 Community Triage Line Regional Information Center 775-328-2427
Walgreens 24-Hour Pharmacy 750 N Virginia Street Reno, NV 89501 775-337-8703
CVS 24 Hour Pharmacy 680 N McCarran Blvd Sparks, NV 89431 775-359-6808
Information for Residents of Nevada
State of Nevada Nevada Health Response 1-800-860-0620
Carson City and Douglas, Lyon and Storey County Carson City Health and Human Services 775-283-4789
Nye County Nye County
Humboldt County Humboldt County
Churchill County Churchill County
Plumas County, California Plumas County
National and Global Resources
CDC
World Health Organization
FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control

Updated June 10, 2020

As the state and the region move toward recovery and into the next phase of reopening, REMSA is also working toward returning to regular operations while maintaining our commitment to health and safety for our patients and employees. Here are a few important things for you to know.

It Is Safe to Call 9-1-1
It’s important to remember that if you are experiencing a health emergency, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. REMSA has experienced medical dispatch professionals available to provide life-saving pre-arrival instructions while paramedics are responding to your emergency. At REMSA, care starts with the call. In any health emergency, time is of the essence. For life-threatening emergencies that include uncontrolled bleeding, shortness of breath, symptoms of a stroke, chest pain or seizures, it is important that you call 9-1-1 so you can have the greatest chance possible at survival. If you have serious symptoms, do not ignore them and be assured that REMSA’s health care providers know what to do to keep you safe even during COVID-19.

REMSA’s Response During the Pandemic
Within Washoe County, if you call 9-1-1, due to the pandemic, our medical dispatchers will ask a couple of additional questions to determine the COVID-19 risk. This is important information that helps us prepare our paramedics to respond safely to your emergency.

REMSA paramedics continue to wear personal protective equipment to all calls – this includes gloves, eye protection or a face shield, an N-95 respirator mask and a gown. There are clear plexiglass barriers between the crew and patient compartments on all ambulances. Also, family members are typically allowed to ride in the ambulance during a transport, but right now, that is not permitted.

Employee Health, Safety and Wellness
Maintaining the wellness and safety of our health care providers has been paramount for REMSA throughout the pandemic response. We remained focused on identifying and launching programs and policies that facilitate health tracking, staying home when ill, remote working, healthy lifestyle choices and decreasing exposure risks. As we move into the next phase, REMSA’s Health and Safety Supervisor worked with leadership to develop and implement a Return to Work plan which addresses safety and health requirements across our various employee groups.

REMSA’s Center for Pre-Hospital Education
Last week, REMSA’s Center for Pre-Hospital Education reopened to the public and EMS students under strict and thoughtful guidelines. Enrollment is now open for community member classes like CPR, First Aid and Kid Care, as well as for health care provider classes such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support. For the safety of students and instructors, the following measures are in place: limited class size, mandatory face coverings and temperature check, limited class offerings, socially distanced classrooms, designated entry and exit pathways, restricted social gathering in common areas, daily deep cleaning by an environmental service contractor and frequent equipment and surface wipedowns throughout the day. We look forward to continuing to advance pre-hospital education in the region.

Continuing to Flatten the Curve
Even as our region sees progress in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, REMSA encourages members of the public to continue to wear face coverings, maintain at least 6 feet of social distance and limit gatherings.

Updated May 4, 2020

As the region and the state looks toward the next steps in responding to the pandemic, REMSA continues to focus on health and safety. REMSA’s Center for Prehospital Education has extended its suspension of all public and clinical provider classes through the end of May 2020. In addition, the REMSA Business Office is closed to the public. Patients can pay their bill online and community members can purchase a membership online. 

The Washoe County Health District reminds everyone to minimize time outside of your home – restrict outings to essential errands. If you do go out, wear a face mask and maintain proper social distancing. Also, continue to practice effective and frequent handwashing. 

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please call 775-328-2427, complete a screening and get a test scheduled. The Health District has the capacity to test several hundred people every day. The tests are free. Learn more about testing in Washoe County here.   

Medical emergencies don’t take a break – even during a pandemic. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, do not delay seeking care – call 9-1-1. Learn more here


Updated April 28, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased the number of symptoms associated with COVID-19. In addition to fever, cough and shortness of breath, updated symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Updated April 3, 2020

Public and Student Education

Acting with a focus on health and safety, and in conjunction with our regional hospital education partners, REMSA’s Center for Prehospital Education has suspended all public and clinical provider classes through April 30, 2020. If you are currently registered for a class, please reach out to the Education Department via email. If you are a clinical provider student, your instructor will contact you directly.


Updated March 29, 2020

While this situation has touched hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, it feels immensely more personal today with the first COVID-19-related death in Washoe County. Our thoughts are with the family members, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. As a part of the healthcare community, we tend to try to prepare ourselves for the inevitability of illness and loss. Nevertheless, our collective hearts are heavy for the patients and families who are sick and who have lost their lives – locally and globally. Our providers at REMSA and Care Flight remain committed to providing clinically excellent and compassionate care to the communities we serve. Please do all that you can during this time to keep our frontline staff safe and healthy. #StayHomeForUs or #StayHomeForNevada


Updated March 27, 2020

REMSA (Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority) and the Washoe County Health District (WCHD) have enhanced a 24/7 COVID-19 Community Triage Line to respond to the influx of calls related to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The phone number is 775-328-2427. Select option 2 for a COVID-19 risk assessment.

Community members are encouraged to call this number and speak with non-medical call center representatives with their questions related to symptoms, exposure, social distancing, where to seek care and available community resources. University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine students, REMSA staff and community members will be assisting the Health District with this important community need and staffing the call center. Learn more here.


Updated: March 19, 2020

Stay Home For Us

Help us help you! REMSA and Care Flight’s healthcare providers are the front line of the coronavirus pandemic. We ask you to #StayHomeForUs. Help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 so we can stay healthy to assist those who have a medical emergency and those who need our care and transport. We’re #AlwaysOpen and #AlwaysReady.

These photos were taken as part of a public service campaign instituted by
the American Ambulance Association.

 


Updated: March 14, 2020

Download REMSA’S March 14, 2020 update information here.

An Important Update on COVID-19 from REMSA

As we all continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, I want to share with you some specific things to know about REMSA and Care Flight’s response. We are continuously working to provide uninterrupted, safe, compassionate, clinically excellent care to all of our patients while maintaining a healthy workforce and being a responsible and reliable healthcare partner in the communities we serve.

Organizationally, we have established an Incident Command System which facilitates the efficient management of an evolving situation like this. We remain in regular contact with local, state and federal officials.

REMSA, Care Flight and the Clinical Communications Center (dispatch) remain fully staffed and able to respond to all medical 9-1-1 calls.

Calling 9-1-1

Within Washoe County, if you call 9-1-1, there are a couple of additional questions that will be asked in addition to the standard questions about your address, phone number and the nature of the emergency. Now, you will also be asked whether or not you have specific symptoms like a fever over 100.4, a cough, difficulty breathing, runny nose or are experiencing malaise–a general feeling of discomfort or illness without an exact cause. These are important questions that help us prepare our paramedics to respond safely to your emergency.

When Paramedics Arrive

When REMSA paramedics arrive at your location, you may see them wearing additional personal protective equipment including gloves, eye protection or a face shield, an N-95 respirator mask and a gown. They may ask you, the patient, to wear a mask as well. It’s important to understand that because COVID-19 is airborne, simple surgical masks do not prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, a simple surgical mask will minimize or reduce some of the spread of germs, particularly in confined spaces where healthcare workers are providing patient care (such as in an ambulance patient compartment).

In addition, the paramedics may use a temporary and disposable material to seal off the patient compartment from the driver compartment inside the ambulance. Typically, family members are allowed to ride in the ambulance during a transport, but right now, that will not be permitted if these response precautions are in place, and for all other transports, it will be strongly discouraged.

Disinfecting

Per REMSA’s standard operating procedures, our ambulances are decontaminated after every patient transport using an Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant. REMSA has ensured that this disinfectant has a manufacturer’s statement as to the efficacy against COVID-19.

Use 9-1-1 for Emergencies Only

As a reminder, please remember that medical 9-1-1 should be reserved for life-threatening emergencies which include uncontrolled bleeding, cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, trauma or suspected stroke symptoms.

Alternate Care Options

If you feel unwell and are not experiencing a medical emergency, consider using an alternate care option such as telehealth – an option that is offered by many health insurance providers. In addition, using an on-demand care provider like Ready Responders is an option. You can reach them by calling 775-229-4828. In addition, if you are experiencing symptoms, you can call the Washoe County Health District hotline at 775-328-2427 or the Renown Health respiratory illness screening line at 775-982-5000.

Care Flight

Currently, Care Flight also continues to transport patients under normal operations and follows the same personal protective equipment and equipment/aircraft disinfecting procedures as the ground ambulance providers. Similar to the ground ambulance transports, accompanying family members will not be allowed if precautions are in place. In addition, the crew will work with the family to determine the receiving current visitor policy at the receiving facility.

Employee Welfare

It is particularly important that our healthcare providers maintain their health and wellness. REMSA leadership is considering ways to offer on-site family care, expand personal time off for sick leave and accommodate administrative staff work from home policies.

Facility Cleaning

REMSA has expanded its campus-wide cleaning and disinfecting, including in our public education building. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been added and additional disinfecting wipes have been made available for administrative staff, as well. As mentioned above, all patient care equipment is disinfected after each patient contact, per REMSA’s standard operating procedures.

Public and Student Education

Acting with a focus on health and safety, and in conjunction with our regional hospital education partners, REMSA’s Center for Prehospital Education has suspended all public and clinical provider classes through April 3, 2020. If you are currently registered for a class, please reach out to the Education Department via email. If you are a clinical provider student, your instructor will contact you directly.

Resources
Please visit the following websites for additional information:

Thank you and be well,

Dean C. Dow
President/CEO

Jenny Wilson, MD
Medical Director


Updated: March 7, 2020

REMSA is committed to the health and safety of our patients, our healthcare provider employees and administrative employees. Currently, we are providing emergency medical services and mobile healthcare within normal operational limits, even as the coronavirus-COVID-19 situation evolves.

Here are some important things to know right now:

When you call 9-1-1, in addition to the standard questions about your address, phone number and the nature of the emergency, you will also be asked whether or not you have specific symptoms like a fever over 100.4, a cough, difficulty breathing, running nose or are experiencing malaise–a general feeling of discomfort or illness without an exact cause. These are important questions that help us prepare our paramedics to respond safely to your emergency.

When REMSA paramedics arrive at your location, you may see them wearing additional personal protective equipment including gloves, eye protection or a face shield, an N-95 respirator mask and a gown.

They may ask you, the patient, to wear a mask as well. It’s important to understand that simple surgical masks do not prevent the spread coronavirus, because it is airborne. However, a simple surgical mask will minimize or reduce some of the spread of germs, particularly in confined spaces where healthcare workers are providing patient care (such as in an ambulance patient compartment).

In addition, they may use a temporary and disposable material to seal off the patient compartment from the driver compartment inside the ambulance. Typically, family members are allowed to ride in the ambulance during a transport, but right now, that will not be permitted if these response precautions are in place. For all other transports, family member rides with be highly-discouraged.

Per REMSA’s standard operating procedures, the ambulance is decontaminated after every patient transport with an Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant. REMSA has ensured that this disinfectant has a manufacturer’s statement as to the efficacy against COVID-19.

Currently, REMSA has adequate supplies of personal protective equipment – items like gloves, masks and eye protection – to continue normal and enhanced operations. We have designated representatives that are communicating regularly with government officials to ensure expanded access to supplies should they be needed in the future. In addition, we are instituting regular communication updates to emergency professionals from the clinical and administrative leaders overseeing REMSA’s participation in the regional response to this situation.

For additional information, please visit the Washoe County Health District website. If you believe you are sick with the 2019 novel coronavirus, we encourage you to stay home and call your healthcare provider or Washoe County’s 311 resource line. This number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Washoe County Health District staff are conducting in-depth risk assessments with persons who are at high risk and believe they are sick with coronavirus in order to determine if these persons need to be evaluated by a medical provider or if they need to be self-isolating.

As a reminder, please remember that 9-1-1 should be reserved for life-threatening emergencies which include uncontrolled bleeding, cardiac arrest, trauma or suspected stroke symptoms.

As conditions change, we will continue to keep you informed.

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