Local paramedics trained and ready to deal with COVID-19
LONDON, ONT. -- Even though the number of confirmed cases in southwestern Ontario continues to increase, local paramedics have not been in contact with, or transported anyone, with COVID-19.
In a time when the public is panicking, those on the front lines are not.
Pandemics over the past two decades have helped medics prepare for the COVID-19 crisis.
Through SARS, H1N1, Ebola and influenza, paramedics have been using personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper practices to ensure they and their patients are protected.
Currently all calls into 911 are being screened to look for COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
"There are two levels of screening," explains Neal Roberts, chief of Middlesex-London EMS.
"After dispatch screens the call, the medics arrive to another level of screening with patients, and take the precautions. They'll maintain barrier, put on PPE and take those types of precautions as well."
At this point what they are seeing on the front lines has been positive news.
"There is a decrease in the amount of people going to hospital," says paramedic Miranda Bothwell. "People are taking the stay home, self-isolate, social distancing seriously."
With previous pandemics - including influenza - senior staff have been preparing in case the situation becomes dire.
"For over a month we've put plans in place, we're looking at search capacity, to make sure we are there for the public in their greatest time of need," says Roberts.
He cited the practices preached by the health officials like washing hands, not touching your face, social distancing and self-isolating.
"We'll all get through this and front-line workers will be there to help our patients," says Roberts.
And Bothwell says it's a trust in their training which gives them comfort at this time.
"We train for events like pandemics, and with our PPE and patient care it makes sure we can do our job," says Bothwell.