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Mayo Clinic ambulance implement COVID-19 protocol

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DULUTH,MN-- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues those out on the frontlines are changing standard procedures to ensure safety.

Mayo Clinic Ambulance Services which serves many communities in the Northland has made changes relating to safety precautions to help flatten the curve.

“We’re essential co-workers we still have to come to work. We just want to make sure we’re protecting ourselves so we’re not spreading it in the community," says Mayo Clinic Ambulance Operations Supervisor Kate Arms.

These changes include how they approach a scene, assess a patient, and protect themselves.

Patients may be asked questions more than once, all relating to symptoms of COVID-19.

Dr. Anuradha Luke, Medical Director for the ambulance services says, “Those screening questions allow us to determine if a person is at risk. If that is the case we'll put a mask on a patient.” 

Paramedics are practicing social distancing, standing 6-10 feet away from patients if possible.

Dr. Luke says paramedics will, “Put on appropriate personal protective equipment and then care for the patient on their way to the hospital."

They say all measures taken are to make sure everyone is safe, not to make a patient feel uncomfortable.

“It can feel kind of offensive like why are they standing so far away from me? Or why are they treating me so funny and putting all this stuff on? Its precaution to keep the entire community safe," says Arms.

Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service says they aren’t worried about running out of personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves but that possibility is on their radar.

Dr. Luke says, “Availability of personal protective equipment is always on our radar. We are keeping very close accounts of what we’re using.” 

And while some people get to stay home during the pandemic medical professionals don’t.

Mayo Clinic Ambulance officials say they’re in this together. 

“I get almost a little emotional about it. It’s a privilege, it’s hard and it’s scary. Everyone else stays home with there families and they’re getting quality time and we come to work," says Arms.

The Mayo Clinic has offered paramedics 80 hours of additional paid sick leave to utilize during the pandemic should any of them get sick.

Arms add they are following CDC guidelines and Mayo Clinic is offering precautions to follow daily. 

Dr. Luke says they've seen a slight decrease in calls for service, but does expect that change in the coming weeks.

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Emma Quinn

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