Coronavirus: First responders in Atlantic Canada changing procedures

As Atlantic Canadians continue to adjust their lives due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, first responders in the region are changing how they do their jobs as well.

“Our employees and our organization are working diligently to adjust to this new reality,” said assistant commissioner Larry Tremblay of the New Brunswick RCMP.

For residents of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, that new reality begins as soon as emergency calls come into the provinces’ dispatch centres.

Callers can now expect to be asked a series of questions about their health and travel.

If that screening tool leads dispatchers to believe that the caller or anyone in the household could have COVID-19, first responders are notified as they are dispatched.

Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services (EHS) says paramedics are informed by dispatch and through computer notifications if there is a COVID-19-possible patient.

That allows them to gear up in personal protective equipment (PPE) before they arrive.

“Paramedics are asked to have a heightened awareness about the situation,” said Remo Zaccagna, a spokesperson for EHS.

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