Ornge ambulances and paramedics coming to help CK with COVID-19

Photo via Ornge. (April 8, 2020)

More ambulances will soon be rolling through Chatham-Kent to transfer COVID-19 patients if necessary.

Ornge, the provincial organization which coordinates the critical care land ambulance program and hospital transfers, will open a temporary base in Chatham-Kent on Easter Monday.

Ornge officials said an extra ambulance and another backup ambulance, along with a paramedic crew will staff the base 12 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice in case there’s an increase in COVID-19 patients needing to be transported.

“These new operations will enhance Ornge’s ability to provide patient care at this challenging time throughout the southwestern Ontario region, including the London-Windsor corridor and Sarnia,” said Wade Durham, Chief Operating Officer of Medical Operations.

The new temporary Chatham-Kent base adds to Ornge’s existing critical care ambulance bases. Ornge has other bases in Mississauga, Peterborough, and Ottawa and another temporary location in Hamilton.

Ornge will still be available by helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft as required depending on the circumstances of the transport.

“Ornge would like to thank Donald MacLellan, General Manager, and Operations Manager Rodney Hetherington, for all their support with this project,” said Durham.

MacLellan, the General Manager of Chatham-Kent EMS and Medavie EMS in Chatham-Kent, said they are excited to host Ornge within the hometown operation.

“We look forward to having such a valued resource come to our region to improve the movement of critical patients between healthcare facilities,” he said.

Ornge’s said its team of critical care land paramedics provides a faster and safer transport service of critically ill patients and the Critical Care Land Ambulance program relieves pressure on land ambulance services, reduces the need for hospitals to provide escort staff for critical transfers and allows Ornge to increase air ambulance availability for outlying rural and remote areas.