coronavirus imageWe touch base again with Dr. Joe Holley for our fourth short update on the COVID-19 outbreak. Watch for more of these updates a few times a week on top of our normal episode rotation as Joe has more information to share with us.

Here are the key points Joe covered on this brief call:

General COVID-19 Presentation and Diagnosis:

  • Presentation of patients with lethargy and malaise may be related to mild hypoxemia. Use pulse oximetry to pick up on this.
  • Early symptoms also include GI complaints including diarrhea and nausea.
  • Mild fever early on, higher later in progression of disease
  • Anosmia (loss of smell) and ageusia (loss of taste) also a common complaint.

For First Responders and Hospital Personnel:

  • Cardiac symptoms present in a number of cases include myocarditis and pericarditis and arrhythmias.
  • Hypercoagulability may lead to increased incidence of MI or stroke.
  • Signs and symptoms may be similar to altitude sickness (again related to hypoxemia). These include mild confusion, mild fever, general vague symptoms.

Progression to Intubation and Ventilation

  • Patients in advanced stages of disease desaturate VERY quickly (30-60 seconds).
  • Monitor pulse oximetry and be prepared for intubation with little notice.
  • May account for larger number than usual of prehospital cardiac arrests related to COVID-19.

More Updates Soon

Stay tuned for more updates periodically in the coming weeks as Joe reaches out amidst his duties and busy schedule to share his viewpoint on the response with us as he is able.

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Paragon Medical Education Group

Paragon Medical Education Group specializes in bringing what they call “The Experience” to jurisdictions around the country. They bring together police, fire, EMS, and hospital teams to train together and learn what to expect from each diverse group in the response team so that each knows what to expect from the other and how to back the other groups up. Visit Paragon’s site at for more information on how this can be brought into your system.

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