In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) has launched a new Telemedicine Program to help battle the outbreak of coronavirus.

The program is designed to enable firefighters and paramedics to have less ill patients be evaluated via video, and eliminate unneeded trips to the emergency room.

It also connects patients who do not require emergency care with a provider who can assess the patient’s condition, provide a treatment plan, and even call in prescriptions to support the treatment plan.

“What that means is, when our paramedics go into homes and there are COVID-19 patients exhibiting mild symptoms, our paramedics can go online and do a video conference with a nurse practitioner or doctor to get additional information and enable our firefighters and paramedics to give the patient the information to do home treatment,” said LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

“It is vitally important that we keep our precious hospital beds for the most critically impacted people that are exhibiting [more severe] signs and symptoms of COVID-19.”

County health officials have ordered the self-quarantining of persons who have been exposed to, diagnosed with, or are likely to have the COVID-19 virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If your symptoms are severe, they say to call 9-1-1 or get to a hospital or medical clinic immediately.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19, and those who are told by a clinician they are presumed to be positive for COVID-19, are required to self-isolate for a period of at least three days without symptoms — including being fever free without taking medicine — and seven days since symptoms started, whichever is longer. 

Additionally, those who have been in close contact with someone who is positive or presumed positive must quarantine themselves for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the ill person.

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