Table 1

Characteristics of 274 EMS encounters with 220 patients with confirmed COVID-19 from 14 February to 26 March 2020

Total EMS encounters (n=274)BLS transport (n=180)ALS transport (n=31)Not transported (n=63)
Initial dispatch complaint, n (%) of column
 Difficulty breathing68 (25)44 (24)10 (32)14 (22)
 Sick (unknown)68 (25)52 (29)6 (19)10 (16)
 Infectious diseases51 (19)35 (19)4 (13)12 (19)
 Trauma32 (12)17 (9)2 (7)13 (21)
 Other*55 (20)32 (18)9 (29)14 (22)
Dispatched as ‘PPE advised’, n (%) of column196 (72)136 (76)16 (52)44 (70)
Origin of 911 response, n (%) of column
 Home/private residence128 (47)76 (42)16 (51)36 (57)
 Long-term care facility118 (43)86 (48)12 (39)20 (32)
 Outpatient clinic20 (7)14 (8)3 (10)3 (5)
 Public/street8 (3)4 (2)0 (0)4 (6)
Initial vital signs, median (IQR) of column
 Systolic blood pressure, mm Hg (n=238)130 (110–146)130 (110–142)132 (97–155)130 (110–140)
 Heart rate, beats per minute (n=230)90 (80–108)92 (80–110)97 (72–115)88 (76–96)
 Respiratory rate, breaths per minute (n=238)21 (16–24)20 (16–24)24 (16–30)18 (16–20)
 Peripheral oxygen saturation, % (n=197)93 (89–96)92 (89–95)92 (83–96)95 (92–97)
 Temperature, Celsius (n=172)37.7 (36.9–38.8)37.8 (37.1–38.8)37.5 (36.4–38.2)37.3 (36.7–38.3)
EMS provider impression, n (%) of column
 COVID†72 (26)53 (29)4 (13)15 (24)
 Flu-like symptoms47 (17)37 (21)4 (13)6 (10)
 Respiratory distress46 (17)27 (15)11 (36)8 (13)
 Weakness37 (14)25 (14)0 (0)12 (19)
 Altered mental status16 (6)8 (4)4 (13)4 (6)
 Injury/pain16 (6)13 (7)1 (3)2 (3)
 Cardiac15 (6)6 (3)6 (19)3 (5)
 Other‡25 (9)11 (6)1 (3)13 (21)
Any mention of COVID-19 in EMS record, n (%) of column169 (62)117 (65)17 (55)35 (56)
  • *Bleeding/pain, cardiac and stroke/headache.

  • †COVID-19 impressions were added to the electronic health record as an option on 8 March 2020.

  • ‡Vaginal haemorrhage, seizures, obvious death, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, epistaxis, dehydration, urinary tract infection, diabetic hypoglycaemic, unspecified convulsions and skin infection.

  • ALS, advanced life support; BLS, basic life support; EMS, emergency medical services.