Suiting up: Inside the COVID unit


(WTMJ/NBC News)  In an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus, officials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the surrounding area are pooling resources and designating fire stations as staging areas for paramedics responding to COVID-19 calls. 

They’re also using a specialized paramedic unit when responding to patients who may be carrying the virus. Crews have covered the inside of ambulances with plastic. That gets sprayed down with a bleach solution after each patient is transported. First responders suit up with gowns, masks, goggles and boots. They also spray themselves in between calls to stay protected.

“You actually spray the solution on and let it dwell,” says Milwaukee Fire Department Lt. Jeff Freitag. “Let it air dry and get ready for next call.”

Leaders have considered some creative methods to free up resources within the system. If paramedics respond to your location and find you to be stable, they might ask if you are willing to stay home and consult your doctor. If you agree, healthcare workers will call you in the following days and weeks to monitor your progress. Additionally, they will try to educate callers on managing your health at home.

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