Statement on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Emergency Medical Care Training

17.03.20 12:56 PM By Kevin B. Young

Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS
Photo Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Young Hearts Education is providing the following information, available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to help address questions about the potential effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on emergency medical care training using the ASHI, EMS Safety, and MEDIC First Aid training programs. At this point, we are making no recommendations or modifications to training content or skills covered in class, including rescue breaths or chest compressions. 

The CDC is still learning about how COVID-19 spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States. According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of seasonal influenza (e.g., fever, cough, myalgias, and shortness of breath). It estimates that so far this season there have been at least 34 million flu illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations, and 20,000 deaths from the flu. So, while COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, everyday adherence to standard infection control precautions in the classroom will also help minimize exposure to seasonal flu illness. 

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person through close contact of within 6 feet and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are showing signs of sickness, but some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. It also may be possible to become infected through indirect contact with a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in affected communities. 

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms seen in approximately 80% of patients to severe illness in approximately 5% for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Fever, cough, myalgias, and shortness of breath are symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure.


There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are the everyday CDC recommendations for preventing the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19 along with additional information relating those guidelines to training classes: 

  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    • If you have identified symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), you should be advised to not attend a training class.

    • If a scheduled instructor has identified symptoms, they will not teach the class. 

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

    • Training equipment is thoroughly cleaned after every training class, following the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

    • Classroom surfaces are thoroughly cleaned after every training class. 

  • Avoid contact with surfaces and objects that have been touched by others before cleaning.

    • We use a student to equipment ratio of 1:1 in training classes and ensure equipment is thoroughly disinfected between student use.

    • Consider blended learning, postponing the Face to face portion of training for a later date if you are not expected or required to respond to an emergency or require certification to work

    • We are scheduling smaller classes for Hands-on Skills practices.

    • When sharing manikins, avoid using filtered shields when practicing rescue breaths . Use CPR masks with one-way values using a 1:1 student to mask ratio. Clean and disinfect Bad mask devices between training classes.. Use CPR masks with one-way values using a 1:1 student to mask ratio. Clean and disinfect Bad mask devices between training classes.

    • Students will practice using PPE for real during hands-on practices, including how to put on and take off barriers properly.

Generally, the current recommendations on preventing exposure and spread are to avoid contact with those with symptoms, help prevent indirect contact with contaminated surfaces and objects, and take personal steps to reduce exposure to yourself.

Because of the gap in understanding about COVID-19, the situation is evolving, and additional recommendations could follow. Everyone should keep a close eye on the latest COVID-19 information from the CDC and make personal adjustments as more is known about the situation.

Kevin B. Young