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How CMPD, Medic are responding in the age of coronavirus

First responders are taking extra steps to keep healthy from the coronavirus and they are pleading with the public for their help to make their jobs safer.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — No matter if you're at home or out on a walk, if you have an emergency during this coronavirus outbreak, you should expect some changes when it comes to how first responders respond.

"If you have an emergency, Medic and our county responders are here to respond said," John Studnek, deputy director of Medic, said. 

However, as the coronavirus spreads throughout the area, Medic is asking everyone, only call 9-11 for emergencies.

"If you do not have an emergency, such as a fever or just a cough, we'd ask that you access information about coronavirus through

other methods besides 9-11," he said at a county press conference held by Mecklenburg County officials on Thursday.

Those methods include a doctor's office, a clinic, or nurse-advice line, Studnek added.

If you have an emergency and Medic is dispatched, don't be surprised to be asked coronavirus questions by the 9-11 operator. They will ask questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms, and recent travel history, according to Studnek.

When paramedics arrive on scene they will confirm your answers to those questions, again, for their own safety.

Studnek said they will also take your temperature. 

"If you present with a fever and a cough, our provider will hand you a surgical mask to place on your face, and will take one moment to step out to the ambulance to put on appropriate protective equipment," he explained. 

Police officers around the area are also on the frontlines, coming in contact with the community on a daily basis.

"Of course we're concerned," said CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes at the press conference. 

As police departments across the country battle retention and recruitment troubles already, the Seattle Times reports five Seattle officers are now in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19. 

CMPD says they have plans in place if officers get the virus.

"We haven't seen those type of outages yet, but and if we do, we'll address them," Estes said. "We absolutely are prepared. We not only have contingency operations not just for this type of pandemic, but we have an all-hazards plan that spells out what our staffing would be."

A race to stop the spread for everyone, starting with first responders.

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