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Paramedics to provide COVID-19 tests in Perth County
STRATFORD -- Starting on Monday, Perth County residents who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can call for a test to come to them.
Paramedics in the county are expected to begin providing the tests to help Huron Perth Public Health expand their program.
"We went over to Goderich and did some swab training with the health unit and physician-led teams there," said Chris Keyser, Deputy Chief of Program Development for Perth County Paramedic Services. "They also went through the Pallium Program given through Pallium Canada."
"There are lots of vulnerable populations and shelters and retirement homes and things like that that we may be able to support."
The program will serve those who are vulnerable or isolated who can’t access testing sites like the hospital.
Public Health will refer patients to the program.
"Our focus right now is anyone who has symptoms," said Huron Perth medical officer Dr. Miriam Klassen. "The ministry may also provide direction that people in other congregate settings are all to be screen. These are asymptomatic people in which case we would also reach out to the paramedic services."
Perth County paramedics will join paramedic teams across Ontario providing similar services, such as the "Swab Squad" in Guelph and Wellington County.
Since April 23, this team has administered over 3,500 tests at 27 facilities.
"The majority of our tests have been residents and staff of long term care," said Rebecca Leis, supervisor of Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Services. "We were really able to achieve more than I ever thought possible when we first started."
Keyser says his team has performed nearly 300 tests and are ready to hit the road.
"I’m really excited about the program," he said. "Here in Perth County we like to provide community-based health solutions for people, and this is another opportunity for us to get out there and support them."
Huron Perth Public Health says they are seeing a downward trend in COVID-19. There have not been any new confirmed cases since May 1.
With expanded testing, they are expecting to see some new cases.