Central Mass EMS Corp.    CMEMSC OFFICE: (508) 854-0111   |   CMED 24/7 Phone: 508-854-0100

Announcements

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is sharing updated comprehensive guidance to clarify information regarding the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that health care personnel (HCP) use in clinical care areas. This update clarifies best practices regarding the use of N95 respirators and alternatives for HCP caring for an individual who is presumed or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 and appropriate use of gowns.

Reminder: CMEMSC has fit test kits available to Region II services at no cost. If your service could benefit from this, contact the director.

Please read carefully for proper use of: facemasks, respirators, eye protection, isolation gowns, and gloves.

The Department encourages you to review the following resources for additional up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Massachusetts: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 4, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Outlines Vaccination Plans for First Responders, Provide Vaccine Update

First responder departments and organizations can visit www.mass.gov/firstrespondervaccine to learn more

 

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration outlined plans to vaccinate the Commonwealth’s first responders, the next priority group within Phase One of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

The Administration also launched a new interactive COVID-19 daily dashboard to provide a more user-friendly tool for the public to access data on the impact of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

First Responder Vaccinations: Vaccinations for first responders, the third priority group within Phase 1 of the Commonwealth’s vaccine distribution timeline, will begin Monday, January 11. There are over 45,000 first responders across the Commonwealth, a diverse group that includes fire, police and EMTs, who serve state, local and regional entities.

The Administration, through the COVID-19 Command Center and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, has worked with first responder organizations and departments about the best ways to vaccinate first responders effectively and safely. Based on these conversations, the Commonwealth today announced three options for first responder vaccinations:

  1. Qualifying departments may request vaccines to be administered on-site.  Departments that would like to vaccinate their own first responder staff must follow the guidance for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Program (MCVP) and have the capacity to vaccinate 200 individuals.
  2. First responders can schedule an appointment at a first responder vaccination site. View a list of locations here.
  3. Mass vaccination sites will also be available for first responders to access the vaccine, which will be launched by the Commonwealth in the coming weeks.

First responder departments and organizations can visit www.mass.gov/firstrespondervaccine to learn more about these options.

Vaccine Phase 2 Priority Group Adjustment: The Commonwealth today is updating its Vaccine Distribution plan today. Based on this recommendation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory group, we are updating prioritization so that individuals age 75+ are included in Phase 2, Group 1, along with individuals of all ages with 2+ comorbidities.  This follows revised recommendations from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) issued on December 22. Following the ACIP change, the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Advisory Group convened December 23 and 30 to discuss any changes to its previous recommendations were warranted. The Group came to consensus on a single change to the current recommendations, taking into particular consideration ACIP’s highlighting of individuals age 75 and older as being at particular risk of serious complications of COVID-19.

The revised vaccine distribution timeline will be reflected on www.mass.gov/covidvaccine later today.

Interactive COVID-19 Dashboard: The new interactive COVID-19 dashboard contains all the data elements of the current daily dashboard in addition to some of the elements from the weekly dashboard, such as the positivity rate and the testing rate for cities and towns. This interactive feature will allow users to view all the data points from the daily dashboard and several from the weekly dashboard live on the website, with an added ability to customize the data view. For example, users may explore data by focusing on certain data points or a specific period of time.

New interactive features offer the ability for users to:

  • select specific timeframes through a date filter
  • hover over certain sections for further explanation and more details       
  • view specific information like the positivity rate and the testing rate for different cities and towns by both map and bar chart

While the new interactive format has been designed to improve the user experience, the many data points currently being reported remain the same, including:

  • COVID-19 overview and trends
  • cases, testing, hospitalization and deaths
  • higher education and long term care facility data
  • breakdowns by city and town

Researchers and others interested in the raw data still have the ability to see and download the raw files from the website, as can be done currently.  The Department of Public Health will continue to refine the data available on the new dashboard, with additional enhancements planned in early 2021. The new dashboard, powered by Tableau, will be available on the current webpage at www.mass.gov/covid19.

A new OEMS Ambulance Inspector position has been posted. Find all of the requirements and links on our career page.

Dear EMS Colleagues,

As this current wave of COVID is battering the healthcare system, I applaud you for your efforts and the diligent care you have continued to provide your patients. It is certainly a challenging time for all of us. Because of a few recent events that have been brought to the Region I want to take a moment to remind you of some important considerations to keep in mind as we look at the big, COVID-painted picture.

Because every patient must be treated as if they have COVID until proven otherwise, OEMS recently updated STP 1.2 Patient at Risk for COVID-19 to reflect that. I specifically want to remind you of section d. EMS may defer CPAP or other respiratory therapies (such as nebulizer or inhaler therapies) to the receiving hospital, to reduce aerosol-generation risk. Keep in mind that the Protocols permit MDI use in place of nebulizers anyway, even for patients not specifically noted to be at risk for COVID-19, and it is acceptable to do so for all patients during this period. Parenteral therapy (e.g. intramuscular epinephrine) may be necessary for the safer treatment of severe bronchospasm. When in doubt, please discuss individual cases with on-line medical control (emphasis added).

As conscientious and caring providers, it is understandable that you want to do the best for your patients but consideration must be given to the protection of others as well. If you choose an aerosolizing procedure for your patient you must discontinue it’s use before entering the emergency department. Inform the hospital staff of the severity of your patient in the CMED entry note so they can prepare appropriately. Ensure the staff is ready for your patient before entering if needed. This is also advisable when you have a patient that is being ventilated manually or mechanically. 

Again, your patient care and compassion are greatly appreciated. Remember to take the initiatives to keep yourself, your crew, your patient and your fellow healthcare workers as safe as possible during this unprecedented pandemic. Do this by wearing your PPE. Upgrade to an N95 for any aerosolizing procedures. Consider alternative treatments when you can. Add inline HEPA filters when appropriate. Communicate with the receiving facility early. Remember we are all in this fight together.

All the best,

John Broach, MD, MPH, MBA, FACEP

Region II Medical Director

In an effort to increase communications with ALL of our stakeholders, CMEMSC is publishing a newletter. Click to get your copy of the Region II Responder. Want to be on the email list? Click HERE to send a quick email request and you won't miss an issue. We are also always looking for information that is timely and relevant to all EMS professionals so feel free to share your ideas with us.

Stay vigilent and be aware of the hoilday crimes and scams that are previlent. Read the Bulletin HERE. (our links are tested and safe!) The Massachusetts Cybersecurity program has also put together an easy to share document that you can share to protect all your loved ones too.

Reminder - As noted in this official release, the DCU site will not take walk-ins or emergency cases, but will provide beds to help those who are too sick to go home yet no longer require critical care. 

Please click HERE for the MEMO. If you have any concerns or questions about your ability to comply by December 31, 2020, please contact Susan Lewis, Deputy Director of OEMS, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

November 3, 2020, the Commissioner of Public Health has issued an Order, under her authority pursuant to M.G.L. c. 94C, § 7(g) and 105 CMR 700.003(H) of the Drug Control Program (DCP) regulations, to temporarily enlarge the pool of authorized vaccinators to include all paramedics working in conjunction with their ambulance services (not only those working for Department-approved mobile integrated health (MIH) and community EMS programs (CEMS)) for administration of flu vaccine only, to those age 3 and older. Her Order also extends this temporary authorization to medical students and nursing students.

Ambulance services and the paramedics who are authorized under this Order may administer vaccine in accordance the Order, the DCP guidance under this Order, as well as the Special Protocol issued today for this limited-period flu vaccine administration authority only. (Note that MIH and CEMS paramedics are authorized by 105 CMR 700.003(A)(4) to administer flu and other vaccines as determined by the Department to persons 18 and older, and they do so in accordance with their MIH or CEMS program’s medical director’s protocols for such vaccine administration. For MIH and CEMS paramedics, this Order applies to enable them to now administer flu vaccine to persons 3 years and older.)

Click here to view the Special Protocol