JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
As the number of cases of COVID-19 in Missouri continues to climb, emergency responders are preparing for the possibility of exposure.
The director of Missouri's Department of Public Safety, Sandy Karsten, said at a news conference Wednesday that large orders or protective equipment for responders is on its way to the state.
Hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment, she said, will be distributed to departments across the state, however, the details of that distribution are still in the works.
Masks, gowns and other protective gear will be used to ensure emergency responders stay safe when treating patients infected by the deadly virus.
The Cole County Health and EMS Departments are working to outfit local crews with the equipment necessary to keep the disease at bay.
Every police officer and Sheriff's deputy in the county will be fitted for a mask to protect from oral exposure.
Ambulances are outfitted with other personal protective equipment (PPE) to allow for transport of possible COVID-19 patients.
"We’re taking these precautions because health care workers are at the highest risk of contracting this," said Cole County EMS Chief Matthew Lindewirth. "The primary goal is to get our responders home safely."