Riley County EMS will be holding an audit for their employees who hold outside jobs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made to protect both EMS employees and the public, and affects both part time and full time employees. EMS positions are high risk during the pandemic since they are responding to these calls and getting up close with patients. They have the potential to spread the disease to both co-workers and members of the public if they work another job.
EMS Director David Adams will audit those employers and see how well they are following guidelines to minimize spread. If he feels they are not, then he will ask the employee if they could suspend their position at that other job for the next several weeks. If that is not financially feasible, they may be asked to suspend their position with the EMS for the time being.
Assistant Director Joshua Gering says there is some language in the resolution stating the approval or denial may change based on the risk vs benefit of their shift changes and as the pandemic evolves. The department believes this decision is in the best interest of their mission and to be a part of the solution.
Commissioner Marvin Rodriguez was a little hesitant since their department will decide whether someone works at a separate job. Gering responded says this is a request and they are not forcing the employees. He adds there is still the possibility over the coming weeks the benefit of their shift assignment could outweigh that risk.
Employees who decide not to suspend their other job, will still be allowed to come back to their EMS position. Gering says this allows them to be reactive when it comes to shift assignments and operational needs.
Riley County Commissioner John Ford agreed with the idea saying the county is at a point to mitigate factors to get through this pandemic.
“We’re kind of handcuffed on what we should and shouldn’t do, but we have a duty as a county and county EMS to protect the public as well as our employees,” says Ford. ” There really isn’t much wiggle room on this, even with the other factors in place.”
Ford says decisions like this are to help flatten the curve, even though they are tough to make.