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May 15, 2020 (Williamson County, TX) – Williamson County EMS has five employees that have tested positive for COVID-19. The employees were in self-quarantine prior to their diagnosis and have not had contact with the public since being diagnosed. All employees are being monitored at home.
Williamson County is working with the Williamson County and Cities Health District to identify co-workers and others who may have had contact with the employees so they can take necessary precautions.
“While we have employees out due to illness or self-isolation, the WCEMS system retains the ability to respond to all calls and ensures continuous service to the community with existing resources,” said Williamson County EMS Director Mike Knipstein.
“We have strict protocols in place for our paramedics when responding to someone with flu-like symptoms or a potential infectious disease,” added Knipstein. “We have been working over the past sixty-plus days to ensure our first responders are properly protected and equipped while performing their jobs. The health and safety of our employees is our highest priority.”
Williamson County EMS has enacted proactive measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 amongst EMS staff. Operational orders were implemented requiring the use of surgical masks at all times when a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained. This is in addition to existing requirements for daily temperature checks and other health assessments prior to and during an employee’s EMS shift. Enhanced cleaning of stations and ambulances also has been implemented.
It is important for everyone to continue to take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect our first responders, healthcare workers, family, friends, and neighbors.
The preventative measures include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces