But residents should note small changes in procedure
COVINGTON, Ky. - Covington’s police and fire departments are implementing small procedural changes to increase protection from the new and extremely contagious strain of coronavirus hitting the nation, but those changes won’t interfere with the high level of service that residents have come to expect.
“Our primary message is this: If you have an emergency and need a police officer or an EMT, they will be there,” City Manager David Johnston said. “We have strong leadership and a dedicated contingent who take their public safety duties seriously, and I want to commend our First Responders and support staff.”
Similarly, Fire Chief Mark Pierce assured residents that fire personnel were taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus.
“The general public should not worry about contamination or exposure from our crews,” Pierce said. “Policies have been put in place to make sure that equipment and personnel are decontaminated if there was contact with anyone that shows signs or symptoms of the virus.”
New EMS protocol
As part of that effort, Pierce said NKy Health has created a new emergency dispatch screening protocol that will require call-takers to ask questions related to the possible presence of the virus.
Depending upon those answers:
- EMS units who are dispatched will be notified through private radio channels that the patient could possibly have the respiratory COVID-19 disease associated with this strain of coronavirus.
- EMS units will then respond wearing masks, gloves, gowns, and eye protection and could implement safety procedures, such as interviewing at a distance and putting a mask on the patient.
- EMS will do a secondary screening to assess the possibility of COVID-19 and inform the emergency department, which will isolate the patient upon their arrival.
“These are just precautions that help all of us provide better care and still protect ourselves,” Pierce said. “The bottom line is that we will continue to provide the high level of service that citizens and visitors have become accustomed to receiving.”
Police Chief Rob Nader echoed that thought.
“Covington’s strong reliable police response for emergencies will not change,” he said. “The safety and security of our community will be our No. 1 priority.”
But Nader said the Department will be handling some non-emergencies a little differently in order to reduce potential exposure to officers, staff members, and the public. The details are on the Department’s Facebook page, @CovKyPD, but here is the summary:
- The front lobby reception area at the main police station at Madison Avenue and 20th Street will be closed. People needing records should call (859) 292-2230.
- Report minor crimes, such as minor thefts and property damage and harassing communications, online HERE. If you don’t have Internet access, you can file a report by phone 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling (859) 292-2230.
- Obtain copies of accident and incident reports online or by mail, with details on the same webpage above.
- When possible, meet police officers on your porch or outside when they respond to your house.
- Ride-a-longs will be suspended.
“Careful consideration was given to these temporary changes so we can continue to serve our community while doing our part to protect the public as well as our officers,” Nader said. “As we work through this health crisis together, we appreciate the public using the options above to help us accomplish those goals.”
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