Division of Communications
To: Communications Staff
From: Communications Division Head, James Curry
Date: November 17, 2020
Re: COVID-19 Alert Call-Taking/Dispatching
In an effort to protect first responders, accurately capture certain data, and in accordance with the New Jersey State Attorney’s Law Enforcement Directive 2020-1, coupled with the rise in COVID-19 cases, it became apparent to take a closer look at our call-taking and dispatching procedures as they relate to COVID-19.
In consultation with Hunterdon County Health and OEM, we amended the outdated COVID-19 Alert guidecard, adding questions designed to safeguard first responders.
Below is a copy of the updated guidecard that will go into effect immediately.
Understanding that every call presents differently, PSTs should exercise reasonableness when managing calls. An extreme example would be someone who has a sucking chest wound from a traumatic injury and is having respiratory difficulty is justifiably not likely due to COVID-19.
The guidecards are in the process of being replaced. I anticipate it will also be added to Power DMS, however at this time we cannot alter the digital version.
HUNTERDON COUNTY DIVISION OF COMMUNICATIONS – COVID 19 GUIDECARD
When to use the COVID19 CAD code: (Updated 11/16/2020)
Any complaint of:
• Respiratory Distress, or
• Fever, or
• Coughing, or
• Gastrointestinal Illness w/ associated fever
Answer “Yes” to any of the following questions:
• Has anyone in the home been diagnosed with COVID-19 ?
• Has anyone in the home been in close contact (within 6 feet) of
someone with a confirmed case of COVID19 in the last 14-days ?
• Has anyone in the home been feeling sick and been instructed by a
health care professional to self-isolate ?
DO NOT inform first responders of negative COVID19 (or similar language) via radio or cad notes.
When using the COVID19 CAD code, also transmit the precautionary statement “Patient may have a possible infectious respiratory illness, use contact and respiratory precautions” to all first responders (EMS, Police, Fire).
If the CAD notice prompts, “use contact and respiratory precautions at this location”, then transmit this to all first responders (EMS, Police, Fire) who are responding to this address.
Attention Somerville Station 54 Crews:
Please make sure you bring your PPE with you and advise if you need replacements for your P100 masks.
First of all the Executive Committee would like to thank you for your continuous positive performance during this pandemic. As some of you may have realized Covid-19 is on the rise again especially in the Somerville & surrounding areas - with that being said we are implementing some measures to ensure your safety along with your family and friends.
1. Masks are to be worn inside the building even if visiting for a minute or so.
2. Only the Duty Crew should be at the building during their respective shift - this applies to Daytime and Nighttime coverage.
3. Limit members to 10 at the building - granted on a large scale incident this will not be able to happen, but we will try our best to minimize group gatherings.
Please remember to follow the guidelines Chief Lapotasky sent out earlier in conjunction with the above items.
Any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact either myself or Chief Lapotasky.
Good Evening Chiefs & Coordinators,
Daily Case Count Increase:
Our daily case reports are rising steadily. On Monday, November 16th, 60 positive cases were reported in Hunterdon County, the highest value in a single day to date. During the previous week our daily case reports ranged from 22 to 42 cases per day. As of yesterday, Hunterdon’s 7-day average was 30.8 cases per day, the highest weekly rate of cases to date, surpassing the highest weekly rate in the spring.
Information is updated daily here: http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/coronavirus.html
Rate of Transmission Increase:
Last week the Rate of Transmission for Hunterdon County jumped from .85 to 1.07. The RT for New Jersey is 1.38.
Hospital Admissions Increase:
In the last 4 weeks, hospital admissions continue to increase related to COVID positive cases in Hunterdon County. This holds true in hospitals in surrounding counties as well. On a call today some hospitals were advising that an unmanageable surge is likely in days, not weeks.
Percent Positivity Increase:
Notably, the percentage of positive COVID test results has risen steadily in the last few weeks, denoting an increase in community-based infections.
In the most recent COVID activity report, Hunterdon’s region is reported in the MODERATE range (along with the entire state). This report can be viewed here https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/statistics/covid/
While this week’s COVID-19 Regional Activity Level is still at “Moderate Risk”, we should anticipate reaching “High Risk” in the next week or two.
Hunterdon County continues to support local first responders and healthcare institutions to fill resource gaps. To date, we have processed 1,071 resource requests for PPE, disinfectant, testing materials and other items. As a reminder, emergency service organizations should report resource requests to their municipal office of emergency management for submission to the County OEM.
New Jersey has released new Executive Orders in the last few weeks, and more are likely to come.
Hunterdon County Emergency Services Training Center
The HCESTC continues to conduct training in accordance with New Jersey Executive Orders and local, state and federal guidance. We have recently suspended students taking and recording temperatures, but we continue to have them and our staff complete a health screening at the beginning of each training session. To date we have completed nearly 2,000 screenings.
Considerations for First Responders
If we can assist you in any fashion, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Brayden Fahey | Coordinator
Office of Emergency Management
Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety