Virginia EMS Initial Certification Process Changes During COVID-19

In response to the Governor's Executive Orders 51, 53, & 55, the Virginia Office of EMS in conjunction with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians have developed the following temporary changes to the EMS Initial Certification process.

BLS Certification Testing:

BLS Psychomotor Examination:

The Virginia Office of EMS has cancelled all Consolidating Testing at the BLS level through December 31, 2020.

A Candidate who needs to retest a station/skill will be contacted directly by OEMS or his/her Course Coordinator for assistance.

BLS Cognitive Examination:

The National Registry of Emergency Technicians (NREMT) has reopened several PearsonVUE testing locations, but is now also offering Pearson OnVUE- a remotely proctored cognitive exams for BLS candidates beginning May 12th, 2020. More information can be found at:

Once a BLS candidates passes the National Registry Cognitive Exam, he/she will be issued full National Registry and Virginia certifications.

ALS Certification Testing:

ALS Psychomotor Examination:

Currently, all ALS Psychomotor Examinations have been postponed. The Office of EMS is working with ALS programs and the NREMT to provide psychomotor testing. The ALS Testing Calendar can be found on the VA OEMS website at:

ALS Cognitive Examination:

Advanced EMT Candidates may take the cognitive test at a location or remotely. More information may be found at:

 Paramedic Candidates must take the cognitive test at a PearsonVue location. Remote proctoring for this examination is not available.

Once an Advanced EMT or Paramedic Candidate successfully completes the respective cognitive examination, he/she will receive a provisional certification that must be converted to full certification once the COVID-19 threat is mitigated and the Candidate passes the required NREMT psychomotor examination.

An Important Announcement From PEMS

The Peninsulas EMS Council COVID-19 Protocol Task Force (“PEMS”) has developed a protocol to guide resource allocation for optimal emergency response and patient transport during the declared State of Emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The protocol is designed for use in situations when the potential for demands for EMS resources exceed regional response capacity.  The overarching goal of the new policy is to ensure the sustained provision of critical medical services during times of significantly increased call volume and/or significant reductions in available resources. 

The COVID-19 Tiered EMS Response Protocol is intended only as medical guidance for agencies to assist in managing scarce resources if the need arises.  The new protocol also includes optional resources to give to patients when they are not transported, as well as a resource for providers who may be dealing with stress resulting from COVID-19 responses. 

This procedure is published on the PEMS website both in the “Latest News” Section and in the “Newly Released COVID-19” section.  The PEMS COVID-19 Tiered EMS Response Protocol document may be downloaded from the “Regional Patient Care Protocols, Policies & Procedures” at 

The PEMS Protocol App will be updated at midnight, 03-30-20 so that providers may reference it in the field.  Providers are encouraged to update the app regularly.

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Cleaning EMS Transport Vehicles after Treatment of Patient with Potential or Confirmed COVID-19


CDC Guidelines Cleaning EMS Transport Vehicles

The following are general guidelines from the CDC for cleaning or maintaining EMS transport vehicles and equipment after transporting a PUI:

Vehicle Rear Doors Should Remain Open While Cleaning

  • After transporting the patient, leave the rear doors of the transport vehicle open to allow for sufficient air changes to remove potentially infectious particles.
    • The time to complete transfer of the patient to the receiving facility and complete all documentation should provide sufficient air changes.
  • When cleaning the vehicle, EMS clinicians should wear a disposable gown and gloves. A face shield or facemask and goggles should also be worn if splashes or sprays during cleaning are anticipated.
  • Ensure that environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed consistently and correctly, to include the provision of adequate ventilation when chemicals are in use. Doors should remain open when cleaning the vehicle.

EPA-Registered Hospital Grade Disinfectant

  • Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures (e.g., using cleaners and water to pre-clean surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectantto frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label) are appropriate for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed.
  • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2. Refer to List Nexternal iconon the EPA website for EPA-registered disinfectants that have qualified under EPA’s emerging viral pathogens program for use against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Clean and disinfect the vehicle in accordance with standard operating procedures. All surfaces that may have come in contact with the patient or materials contaminated during patient care (e.g., stretcher, rails, control panels, floors, walls, work surfaces) should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using an EPA-registered hospital grade disinfectantin accordance with the product label.
  • Clean and disinfect reusable patient-care equipment before use on another patient, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Follow standard operating procedures for the containment and disposal of used PPE and regulated medical waste.

Is My Disinfectant Included on the List?

  • When purchasing a product, check if its EPA registration numberis included on this list.If it is, you have a match and the product can be used against SARS-CoV-2. You can find this on the product label – just look for the EPA Reg. No. These products may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same EPA registration number, they are the same product.

The primary products included on our list may have more recognizable brand names, but there are often “distributor products” that are identical to them.

Identify Products by a Three-Part EPA Registration Number

Although distributor products frequently use different brand names, you can identify them by their three-part EPA Reg. No.

  • The first two parts of the EPA Reg. No. match the primary product.
  • A third set of numbers represents the Distributor ID number.
    • For example, EPA Reg. No. 12345-12-2567 is a distributor product with an identical formulation and efficacy to the primary product with the EPA Reg. No. 12345-12.
  • If EPA Reg. No. 12345-12 is on our list, you can buy EPA Reg. No. 12345-12-2567 and be confident you’re getting the same thing.

Avoid Shaking Linen

  • Follow standard operating procedures for containing and laundering used linen. Avoid shaking the linen. 


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