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In consultation with Hunterdon County Health and OEM, we amended the outdated COVID-19 Alert guidecard, adding questions designed to safeguard first responders.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.