A LifeNet paramedic is currently in the hospital in Texarkana after contracting COVID-19.
“We believe the paramedic was exposed on a call ran in mid-March. About a week after the call, the paramedic began running a fever. Following CDC recommendations, the paramedic was required to stay home and self-monitor until the fever cleared,” said LifeNet CEO David Baumgardner.
To minimize the risk of LifeNet’s employees spreading COVID-19 in the community, employees have been required to check their temperature or report any COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) before starting every shift. Anyone with a fever or related symptoms is not allowed to work.
“About a week after the paramedic started running fever, LifeNet was notified a patient the paramedic had transported had tested positive for COVID-19. That same day, the paramedic also tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the hospital. The paramedic is currently in the ICU,” Baumgardner said.
LifeNet is committed to helping prevent the spread of the virus in the community and wants the public to know they should not fear calling an ambulance or going to the hospital for emergencies.
“After reviewing patient charts, we do not believe any of the patients the paramedic came into contact with before the paramedic showed symptoms were exposed,” said Baumgardner. “We do encourage everyone in the community to watch for symptoms of the illness and take them seriously.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, LifeNet has been following state and national guidelines related to enhanced steps for screening patients, cleaning ambulances, and ensuring crews are wearing the proper PPE.
“We want to thank the community members and businesses who have stepped up to help provide PPE and cleaning supplies for our crews. Both are difficult to find now, but we currently are not out of either,” said Baumgardner. “We ask for privacy and prayers for our paramedic, along with prayers for all of the medical professionals, first responders, and essential employees on the frontlines in your prayers. Stay home if you do not have to go out. Help us flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19 from spreading more in the community.”
Individuals can help support LifeNet medical crews by informing dispatchers of any symptoms the patient or others on site may be experiencing, including if they have been in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Anyone who suspects they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms such as high fever, cough, and shortness of breath, should contact their medical provider.
All questions regarding health and wellness related to COVID-19 should continue to be directed to the Texas Department of Health & Human Services or Arkansas Department of Public Health. In an emergency, dial 911.