Fresno County EMS reinstates policy to reduce emergency room admissions

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — Respiratory illnesses such as Covid, flu and RSV are on the rise.

To prevent emergency departments from becoming overwhelmed, the Fresno County Department of Public Health is reinstating a policy to prevent patients from entering emergency rooms unless absolutely necessary.

“Every year, winter is kind of what we call it a triple threat period,” said Dr. Praveen Buddiga, an allergist and immunologist.

At this time of year, Dr. Buddiga said he always sees an increase in respiratory patients.

“We are seeing an influx of patients with influenza, RSV as well as COVID due to the drop in temperature. Once the temperature drops, respiratory viruses become activated, due to the colder temperatures,” Dr Buddiga said.

Faced with rising cases, the Fresno County Public Health Department is reimplementing a policy started with the start of the pandemic to keep patients out of emergency rooms unless necessary.

“What we ask paramedics to do is assess patients and determine if they are stable enough to fall under the assessment and referral policy, which is not an emergency situation, then they will be offered other means of care,” Mato Parker said. , Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Coordinator. “So primary care physicians in urgent care, or even telehealth.”

All of this is aimed at reducing pressure on staff and resources at a time when emergency calls are typically increasing. They’re also asking people to take steps to stay healthy this holiday season, recommending Covid-19 and flu vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older, as well as RSV vaccines for people aged 60 and over, those who are pregnant between 32 and 36 weeks. , and infants 8 months and younger.

When it comes to adjusting your vacation plans, Dr. Buddiga said only consider changing your plans if you have symptoms, but take some precautions.

“As far as testing before the holidays, I would only recommend those who have symptoms to get tested for a particular illness, but other than that, just enjoy the holidays,” Dr. Buddiga said. “Have an air purifier for large gatherings and wash your hands.”

Starting Monday, people can order four free Covid tests per household from the CDC. These tests will begin shipping on November 27.

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Gn Health

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