Disinfecting ambulances, safety protocols grow amid coronavirus concerns

BOSTON — Disinfecting ambulances is one thing local ambulance services like Brewster and Boston EMS are doing even more of now that there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in Boston.

Coronavirus safety protocols extend to additional screening of incoming 911 calls, as callers could be describing fever or respiratory symptoms suggestive of the disease, officials said.

Brewster is on the same page, with both asking 911 callers for more details.

“When a patient identifies they have a symptom related to this illness, we can ask a serious of questions like, ‘Have you traveled to the suspected hot spot area?’" said Tom Gwynn, communications director for Brewster Ambulance.

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EMS would then alert hospitals in case someone had to be put into isolation.

A UMass-Boston student arrived from China Tuesday, went to UMass health services on his own Wednesday, and his case was not confirmed until Friday.

“In this particular case this young person on Friday night tested positive and the info was put out Saturday morning,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

But where did the student go between Tuesday and Friday?

Boston 25 News asked Mayor Walsh if the public has a right to know.

“I think the question you asked on where this person went is important to potentially get out to the community,” Walsh said.

While the mayor values transparency, neither he nor Gov. Charlie Baker want to scare the public.

“At this point and time the risk for coronavirus infection in Massachusetts is extremely low,” Baker said. “And based on first-hand info on this particular individual, people are not particularly concerned about his travels once he got back to Massachusetts. He pretty much self-quarantined himself when he got back.”


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