Haldimand & Norfolk County Paramedic Services have formed a task force to administer additional COVID-19 testing for vulnerable residents, residents of congregate settings and staff at long-term care homes.

The task force initiative was spearheaded by the Health Unit, Haldimand & Norfolk counties in response to new directives from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and deputy ministers of health & long-term care.

The unified task force increases testing capacity at long-term care homes and enables vulnerable residents and seniors – who live at home but cannot make it to a testing site – to be tested at their own residence. A number of these residents are currently waitlisted for admission into long-term care homes, and testing is required prior to admission.

A team of approximately 12 paramedics received training to administer swab tests. Screening of all residents and staff at long-term care facilities in both counties, symptomatic or not, is underway. The goal is to test all residents and staff in LTC homes across Haldimand & Norfolk.

The task force was formed in response to direction from the Provincial government to test as many residents of long-term care facilities as possible to reduce transmission, better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and inform future planning.

“Haldimand County Emergency Services is pleased to be part of this community safety and protection initiative. We’ll continue to support the Health Unit and local healthcare providers until COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the health and well-being of our community,” said Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County’s Fire Chief & Manager of Emergency Services.

“Our paramedic team – and specifically our community paramedics – are a highly-trained group of individuals with deep experience in providing healthcare directly to those who need it most,” said Sarah Page, Norfolk’s Chief of Paramedic Services. “We’re proud to be playing a key role in helping Haldimand and Norfolk stop the spread of COVID-19, specifically amongst those most vulnerable to respiratory illness.”