Cobb medics quarantined after transporting infected patients

Three medics with Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service are in quarantine after transporting patients infected with the coronavirus, company officials said Saturday. (AJC FILE PHOTO/ALYSSA POINTER)

Three medics at Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service have been quarantined after being exposed to patients they transported in Cobb County who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Metro officials say that those medics have not shown symptoms but are under observation.

EMS providers are concerned that as COVID-19 spreads it could further strain a system that already is short-handed. Some medics also have said that they don't have an adequate supply of protective gear, with shortages nationwide of items like N-95 masks.

On March 10, three South Fulton firefighters were quarantined after aiding a teacher who was infected with the virus.

Meanwhile, crews at the Marietta-based ambulance service are awaiting word on whether they will need to transport any patients at Dobbins Air Reserve Base to hospitals. About 500 people flown in from the Grand Princess cruise ship are in quarantine at the base after being screened and found not to have symptoms. If any are found to be infected, they are to be transported to area hospitals.

Several area EMS agencies said were on alert early Saturday for the federal government to issue a declaration that transport services would be called to help public health systems with the logistics and transportation of patients.

“It could happen,’’ said Pete Quinones, president of Metro Atlanta. “Depending how things go, but we will be all geared up.”

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