DHHR amends rule, requires masks be worn by EMS workers

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Health and Human Resources has made an amendment to a legislative rule that requires EMS personnel across the state to wear face coverings “at all times during patient encounters regardless of the patient’s symptoms.”

Bill Crouch

State DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said it’s “critically important” for EMS workers to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“These first responders are not only vital to everyday life but are also on the frontline of our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We must take every precaution to keep all of our healthcare heroes safe, as well as the citizens we serve.”

Crouch said all pre-hospital emergency medical service providers must follow the face covering requirement.

The amended rule includes the following requirements:

–All personnel must limit bystander presence and maintain a distance of six feet from any member of the public other than the patient, and shall wear a face covering as follows:

–Personnel shall wear a surgical mask on all calls or when closer than six feet from any member of the public, and personnel involved in direct patient care shall wear a surgical mask unless an aerosol generating procedure is anticipated, in which case an N-95 mask should be worn.

–Personnel shall wear eye protection on calls, and when available, should wear a face shield to cover the eyes and mask.

–Face coverings and reusable eye protection should be cleaned before reuse in accordance with guidelines published by the bureau.

The changes are effective immediately. The DHHR is accepting written comments through Oct. 5. They may be submitted to April.L.Robertson@wv.gov or by U.S. Mail to April L. Robertson, One Davis Square, Suite 100E, Charleston, West Virginia 25301.

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