BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A crew of Jan Care employees unknowingly came into contact with COVID-19 when they transported a patient for an entirely unrelated medical emergency.
Director of Operations for Jan Care, Paul Seamenn, said, four crew members with Jan Care Ambulance are now under a 14-day quarantine, after transporting a patient who later tested positive for COVID-19.
“Honestly our crews did a really great job, that had put in their narratives that they assessed specifically for that twice because we’re so aware of it, and even then there was nothing that would have had a respiratory component at that time,” Seamenn said.
Sunday Jan Care transported a trauma patient in Raleigh County. The patient displayed no symptoms and met none of the COVID-19 assessment guidelines.
The patient was tested for COVID-19 at the hospital, and two days later the results came back positive. Seamenn said Wednesday Jan Care implemented a new policy in response.
“Now, our EMTs and paramedics, everyone that you will see on an ambulance, when they transport, any patient, even if it’s a small child with a broken leg or a gentleman with chest pain or someone going to dialysis, no matter what the situation is…our people are going to be wearing masks,” said Seamenn.
According to the CDC, because there was only 48 hours between the time of contact and quarantine, it is unlikely the crew contracted COVID-19 and transmitted it to others. However, the incident reveals how the virus can hide in plain sight, and will be an ongoing battle for first responders and healthcare workers.
“We will continue to monitor what CDC releases, follow their guidelines and continue to work with that with, with the limited supplies that we have,” Seamenn said.
The patient underwent procedures unrelated to COVID-19 and is said to be recovering. Each of the 430 Jan Care employees received both surgical and N95 masks, they also did a full decontamination procedure on the ambulance and the station.
Seamenn said they are trying to conserve the N95 masks as supplies are limited.