IDPH Guidances Relating to the COVID-19 Outbreak

Contact Tracing

Until a COVID-19 vaccine or preventive treatment is available, management of the COVID-19 pandemic will rely on a tried and true public health measure called contact tracing to keep you, your family, and your community safe.  This method has been employed successfully for decades by the Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as vaccine preventable diseases, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted infections. Contact tracing for COVID-19 is a bit different because it needs to be executed on a significantly larger scale, adapting to unique challenges of the virus, including its spread by people without symptoms.

COVID-19 - Elective Surgical Procedure Guidance

Current Status

During the COVID-19 pandemic, surgeries and procedures (collectively referred to as “procedures”) for life-threatening conditions or those with a potential to cause permanent disability have been and continue to be allowed.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and ambulatory surgical treatment centers (ASTCs) have deferred nonessential procedures to conserve resources for the care of COVID-19 patients. Some procedures that could reasonably be delayed for a time have now been postponed to the extent that potential harm could result from further delay. It is important to be flexible and allow facilities to provide care for patients needing non-emergent, non-COVID-19 health care.1

New Guidance

Beginning May 11, 2020, hospitals and ASTCs can begin to perform procedures, provided specific criteria have been met.

Covid-19 Provisional EMS Certificate

Provisional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Certificates are NOT an Illinois Department of Public Health IDPH) state license. This is only an EMS system approval recognized by the state.

Who is eligible for a Provisional EMS Certificate?

EMS personnel whose licenses have been expired for less than 60 months as of March 23, 20200 and based on the EMS medical director’s recommendation.

COVID-19 School Graduation Ceremonies Guidance

The outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent school building closures for the 2019-20 school year have created questions related to graduation ceremonies.

Donation of Convalescent Plasma

Convalescent Plasma for the Treatment of COVID-19 and Donation of Convalescent Plasma
Use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients

People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies – proteins the body uses to fight off infections – to the disease in their blood. Doctors call this convalescent plasma. COVID-19 convalescent plasma has not yet been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is regulated as an investigational product.  A study by Mayo Clinic researchers of 20,000 hospitalized patients transfused with investigational convalescent plasma published in June 2020 concluded there was “robust evidence” it was safe and supported earlier administration of plasma within the clinical course of COVID-19 was “more likely to reduce mortality.” The following pathways are available for the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma:

Elective Surgeries and Procedures FAQ's

(clarifies and supersedes previous guidance related to elective surgeries)

Q: When may elective procedures begin?

A: May 11, 2020

Q: What is “operational capacity”?

A: It is the number of beds (medical/surgical or intensive care) the organization can staff.

Q: How do you define patients requiring testing for the purposes of this guidance?

A: Anyone admitted for a procedure in the operating room or a procedure requiring anesthesia, including, but not limited to, procedures of the upper respiratory/GI tracts with potential for aerosol generation

and

Anyone planned for an outpatient procedure in the operating room with the potential to involve general anesthesia or other aerosol generating procedures, such as procedures of the upper respiratory or GI tracts.

Emergency Departments Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Services

Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Medical Emergency Services Managed in Hospital Emergency Departments During COVID-19 Pandemic

Illinois hospitals work closely with Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) rape crisis centers across the state to provide trauma-informed care and treatment for sexual assault survivors pursuant to the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act (SASETA), 410 ILCCS 70. Hospitals also play an integral part in delivering treatment and care for domestic violence survivors. In order to reassure survivors that hospital emergency departments (EDs) are safe, equipped, and ready to provide treatment for sexual assault and domestic violence during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Illinois Department of Public Health, in consultation with ICASA, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, and the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, offers the following guidance.

EMS & First Responder Guidance

This guidance applies to all first responders, including law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, and emergency management officials, who anticipate close contact with persons with confirmed or possible COVID-19 in the course of their work.

Background

Emergency medical services (EMS) play a vital role in responding to requests for assistance, triaging patients, and providing emergency medical treatment and transport for ill persons. However, unlike patient care in the controlled environment of a health care facility, care and transports by EMS present unique challenges because of the nature of the setting, enclosed space during transport, frequent need for rapid medical decision-making, interventions with limited information, and a varying range of patient acuity and jurisdictional health care resources.

EMS Licensure Extensions

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has  announced emergency medical services (EMS) licenses.  due to renew in March, April, and May, have been extended to  June 30, 2020. It is IDPH’s goal to provide this extension to allow EMS personnel to focus on the COVID-19 response and the safety and well-being of the Illinois community.

EMS licenses impacted by this extension include: EMT, A-EMT, EMT-I, Paramedic, TNS, ECRN, EMD, PHRN, LI, EMR, Transport Vehicles, Non-Transport Vehicles, Ambulance Assist Vehicles, and Emergency Medical Dispatch Agencies.

As the COVID-19 situation develops, IDPH will keep you up to date with the most current information . Thank you for your continued support to EMS and stay safe.

Last Updated: 6/23/2020

EMS Provisional Certification during the COVID -19 Pandemic Response

PHRNs, PHPA, PHAPN Seeking Provisional Certification (without completing required ALS calls as required in the rule) during COVID -19 Pandemic Response 


  • Must have completed the didactic portion of the pre-hospital course.
  • Must complete and pass a final pre-hospital or paramedic examination approved by the emergency medical services (EMS) system medical director
  • May seek provisional certification after completing course work and testing as approved by the EMS medical director
  • Prehospital registered nurses (PHRN), prehospital physicians (PHPA), and prehospital advance practice nurses (PHAPN) must operate in an Illinois EMS system. 
  • The PHRN, PHPA, or PHAPN may only operate with another Illinois licensed paramedic or PHRN with at least one-year experience. 

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