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Sedgwick County EMS takes precautions amid coronavirus concerns

Coronavirus in Kansas

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – First responders in Sedgwick County are following safety precautions for certain calls in response to coronavirus concerns.

“The precautions that we are taking are very similar to influenza or any other seasonal illness that we have,” said Kyle Burtch with Sedgwick County EMS. “Our providers need to wear a mask, a gown and they need to wear eye protecting and their gloves.”

Officials said a paramedic will show up to respiratory illness calls in a full body gown, but there is no reason to be alarmed. It is only a safety precaution.

Also, ambulances and other emergency vehicles are getting a deeper clean as an added layer of protection.

“We use the longer wet times on our disinfectants and we’re letting our cleaners sit on the surfaces longer because there hasn’t been a study on the time to kill [the virus],” said Burtch.

Sedgwick County announced labs in Wichita can now test for the virus, drastically reducing the wait time for results. Before, COVID-19 tests would have to be sent to Topeka and it would take days to get the results. Now, it will only take a matter of hours.

Sedgwick County officials said they are prepared if there are cases locally.

“The biggest thing is keeping our providers healthy and keeping the spread of disease from going from patient to patient,” said Burtch.

Officials said you cannot show up to a lab to be tested for coronavirus. Doctors have to prescribe the testing and that process is based on multiple factors.

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