COVID-19 Outbreak FAQ

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What are the handheld cordless sprayers for?
The electrostatic sprayers are for duty personnel to use to sanitize their vehicles and living spaces.  The disinfectant mist that they generate is attracted to particles and surfaces, and will cling to surfaces that are not even within the sprayer’s line of sight.  The mist must for a layer that remains slightly wet for the intended dwell time, which is typically 10 minutes for our purposes.  More details are available in the User Guide binders that we supplied with the sprayers.
What disinfectant are we using with the electrostatic sprayer?
Initially, we are supplying hydrogen peroxide for the sprayers.  As the supply chain allows, we hope to convert to PURTABS.  Both substances are nontoxic at the concentrations we’re using.
How do we replenish the disinfectant for the electrostatic sprayer?
EMS Department logistics personnel will resupply the disinfectant. Notify EMS 1, 2, or 3 when you need more.
Are the elastomeric respirators disposable?
No. We have issued them specifically because they are reusable. They should not be thrown away.
What if I lose my elastomeric respirator?
Make an appointment to receive a new one by visiting https://vbems.com/fit-test. Please mark your respirator conspicuously with a permanent marker so if it gets misplaced, it can be returned to you.
I felt fine coming to duty, but now I’m feeling a little sick. What do I do?
Notify EMS 1, 2, or 3 immediately.
I don’t feel well, but I’m scheduled for duty. What do I do?
The health and wellness of our members is our primary concern. Don’t feel embarrassed, or ashamed, if you aren’t feeling well and are scheduled for duty. Call EMS 1, 2, or 3 as soon as possible before your scheduled shift to let them know.
How do I Don and Doff PPE?
It can be challenging to don and doff PPE, especially when it comes to properly and safely taking it off. There is a great short video created by our volunteers posted on the homepage of our website. It shows how to correctly don and doff PPE. It only takes a few minutes to watch.
Is it permitted to wear a decorative fabric “mask covering” over a surgical mask if it the surgical mask is worn appropriately and by the policy/SOG?
At this time, yes. As long as a surgical mask is worn under it and the decorative “mask cover” washed between shifts. Like any outerwear, it can accumulate contaminants.
Should we get to the point where N95 masks are in short supply, will providers be allowed to use their own personal PPE, including half face respirators?
If you’re using your personal fitted respirator (filtered facepiece, half-face, or gas mask) in accordance with the way it was fit tested to you, and you have submitted a copy of your fit testing documentation to the Safety and Regulations Division Chief, you may do so even if the Department has made a filtered facepiece respirator (N95, etc.) available to you. For example, if a member uses a personal fitted gas mask on top of a beard, that is clearly not in accordance with how the mask was fitted. The same qualification would apply if the dimensions of your face have changed since you were fitted. If we’re unable to provide you with any kind of respirator, you may use your own even without submitting fit test documentation, or without it even being fit tested. In all cases, your personal respirator must not violate existing personal appearance policies. For instance, it may not be decorated with scary symbols, such as a biohazard icon or a skull-and-crossbones. We can only restock the make and model of filters and cartridges that we are issuing on the respirators we are issuing.
Can Simple Green be used as a disinfectant for COVID-19?
NO. According to the manufacturer, Simple Green is not a disinfectant. It is a cleaner. Only EPA approved disinfectants should be used, as labeled. Approved disinfectants can be found at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.
Where can I find the latest COVID-19 information?
Go to our website at https://www.vbems.com and view the information in the red banner for the latest service specific information and direction. Additionally, the NIH NIEHS has put together a free training program called “Welcome to the NIEHS COVID-19 Response Training” at https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/covid19worker/ .
We are sourcing our information from official outlets, including http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus, https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus, https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus, and https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 .
What is SARS2? I thought this was a coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can be contracted by humans and animals. There are three types of coronaviruses humans can get from animals: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and this new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS2 or SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). CoV is an abbreviation for Coronavirus and COVID-19 is a moniker for Coronavirus Infectious Disease identified in 2019.
If I have signs/symptoms of COVID-19, can I get tested?
If you are sick, stay home. Notify an EMS supervisor if you need to miss your duty. Then contact Brigade Chief Christi Budy if you test positive, as we are contact tracing. Tests can be obtained through an urgent care facility, most pharmacies and your doctor’s office. If you purchase a home test, some or all of the cost can be reimbursed through your health insurance plan. In most cases, they will send you free home test kits to your home. To order three sets from the federal government, visit www.covid.gov/tests.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and how long is isolation?

If you are sick, stay home and notify an EMS supervisor if you need to miss your duty.  Please contact Brigade Chief Christi Budy if you determine that you have COVID-19 as we are still contact tracing.  COVID-19 symptoms vary from person to person and between variants.  Current information can be found here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html  VB Rescue and the City use the current CDC guidelines for isolation.  They can be found here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

Also see these COVID-19 FAQs from other credible sources: