IDPH Update on Notifying EMS of COVID-19 Patients

Aug. 28, 2020

The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) has extended from 12 hours to 48 hours the time for hospitals to report patients who test positive for COVID-19 to emergency medical services (EMS) that transported or are about to transport the patient. The change was effective immediately with an IDPH memo to hospitals and EMS medical directors, system coordinators and providers on Thursday evening.

Allowing for 48-hour notification to EMS aligns with state and federal requirements for reporting a dangerous communicable or infectious disease. COVID-19 was added to the list in April. The list of diseases includes but is not limited to anthrax, Hepatitis B and C, HIV, measles and tuberculosis.

According to IDPH, notification of a positive test result is required regardless of whether EMS providers followed recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for using personal protective equipment (PPE) during transport of any individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The names of patients who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 must not be included in hospital reporting. Hospital notification letters should be sent to the EMS provider agency’s designated infection control officer. More information about required reporting can be found in the Hospital Licensing Act, 210 ILCS 85/6.08.