CK EMS helping with ramped up COVID-19 testing for the vulnerable

April 24, 2020. (Photo via CK EMS)

Paramedics in Chatham-Kent are gearing up again to go out and conduct COVID-19 swab testing to slow the spread of the virus across the area.

General Manager of Chatham-Kent EMS and Medavie EMS Chatham-Kent Donald MacLellan expects a busy weekend with testing to be done at various locations across the municipality.

MacLellan said his paramedics have been helping CK Public Health with its testing over the past couple of weeks. Now that the testing has ramped up for vulnerable people to include more swabbing for residents and staff at local long term care homes, McLellan said he expects his team to perform about 200 tests this weekend. He said approximately 80 tests have been done by paramedics over the last few weeks to help people who are “home bound” and can’t get out to do them.

MacLellan said his paramedics have been “phenomenal” during this crisis and he can’t be more proud of them.

“I am very proud of our team and their amazing contributions during this time and always,” he said.

CK paramedics have also donated food and cash to help the community during the pandemic. They donated several boxes of food items and over $800 to Outreach for Hunger on April 17.

MacLellan added this initiative is being done by a staff of four paramedics and will in no way affect ambulance service and the ability of paramedics to promptly respond to 911 calls.

The local health unit and the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance will be testing about 2,000 people at seven long term care facilities over the next three weeks to better understand the status of the virus at each home as part of a provincial directive. The new directive will ensure that all residents and staff at those homes are offered testing even without symptoms.

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent long term care homes and CK Public Health and CKHA is thanking them for their “continued diligence in adhering to infection control practices.”

This testing is scheduled to take place up until May 13.

CKHA’s Assessment Centre team will be going to each home to test and in some cases, CKHA staff and paramedics will train staff at nursing homes that have chosen to do the swabbing themselves.

On Friday, CKPH reported four more local people have recovered from COVID-19. The latest numbers show 23 cases have recovered, up from 19 the previous day. There are no new cases reported and active cases are now down to 16. There have been a total of 40 cases reported and only one death. There is nobody in the Chatham hospital recovering from the virus. So far, 1,300 tests have been done and health officials are waiting for 286 results.