A data dashboard of 11,275 records of EMS, fire departments, and hospitals on April 2nd found that the number of documented responses that appear related to COVID-19, not surprisingly, has grown nearly tenfold in the past week as both the public and EMS responders have become more aware of the pandemic.

The dashboard, developed by data software provider ESO, is capturing, tracking, and analyzing response data to improve the patient journey and the health and safety of communities across the US.

ESO captures data from its first responder customers to analyze datasets for trends for improvement and to help agencies and providers stay ahead of the curve for the public, the company said.

Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

Included with the dashboard is a COVID-19 Resource Center page, which ESO created to help its customers gather and access timely information. This can help them address the pandemic in their communities, the company said.

Data is from prehospital-to-hospital response and is collected from more than 2,600 EMS agencies across the US, excluding the state of California, ESO said. It gives real-time insight into coronavirus-specific EMS responses including 911 calls and transport, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by EMS, and patient age ranges.

“Given the approximately 80% transport rates that we’ve seen with the COVID-19 patients, we recommend you share [this] data with your receiving facilities and EMS system leaders and continue to monitor the proportion of encounters for patients with COVID-19 or influenza-like illness (ILI) signs and symptoms, ESO advised. 

This case trajectory may also lead some communities to consider EMS “treat and release” or alternative destinations to safely reduce the impact on hospitals, the company said.

N95 respirator use climbing

Another recent trend ESO discovered on Friday, March 27th, was that the current use of EMS/EMS fire customers using N95 respirators was at a rate of more than 9,000 a day on approximately 25,000 daily 911 calls. This puts first responders on pace to use more than one million N95 respirators in the next three months, according to ESO.

“The current trend of using N95 respirators indicates an unsustainable trajectory,” said Dr. Brent Myers, chief medical officer for ESO, in a statement. “We encourage organizations to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines in relation to the use of surgical masks versus N95 respirators unless performing invasive, aerosol-generating procedures or participating in other high-risk situations.”

Myers said ESO anticipates a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the coming weeks and he reiterated the importance of following the CDC and WHO guidelines to ensure the health and safety of front-line providers and responders.

This course of action “will preserve N95 respirators for situations most likely to require use of this equipment,” he said. “Just as is common with other conditions encountered by fire and EMS, the level of PPE should be proportional to the risk associated with the particular situation.”