State requires W.Va. EMS providers to wear masks on all calls

The new rule also requires EMS providers to maintain a distance of six feet from any member of the public who is not a patient


By Laura French

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new emergency amendment to state rules in West Virginia requires EMS providers to wear masks on all calls. 

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) announced the new mandates on Friday, which also require EMS providers to wear eye protection on all calls and maintain a distance of at least six feet from any member of the public who is not a patient. 

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has announced new rules requiring EMS providers to wear surgical masks on all calls. (Photo/leo2014, Pixabay)
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has announced new rules requiring EMS providers to wear surgical masks on all calls. (Photo/leo2014, Pixabay)

"It is critically important that West Virginia's emergency medical service personnel wear masks and practice social distancing," DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch said in a statement. "These first responders are not only vital to everyday life but are also on the frontline of our state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We must take every precaution to keep all of our healthcare heroes safe, as well as the citizens we serve."

EMS providers in the state will be required to wear a surgical mask on all calls, during all patient encounters and when closer than six feet from any member of the public. The rule states that face shields should also be worn over the mask and eyes when available, and N-95 respirators should be worn during aerosol-generating procedures. 

The rules were made effective immediately. Written public comments on the new mandate can be submitted through Oct. 5 to DHHR General Counsel April L. Robertson. 

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