MIDHURST – As frontline health-care workers, County of Simcoe Paramedics are directly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today is National First Responder’s Day, and the County thanks all our Paramedics for not only responding to urgent 9-1-1 calls for medical assistance, but also for supporting Public Health in providing COVID-19 testing, including the testing occurring at all long-term care homes across the region.
Effective April 28, the Province launched a new proactive testing strategy that tests staff and residents in long-term care homes to help limit the spread of COVID-19 through earlier detection of asymptomatic carriers of this silent virus.
By expanding testing, health officials will be better able to understand the breadth of this problem so that they can work with all levels of government and our health agencies to identify risk and limit the extent of further exposure. This testing will also allow public health and long-term care homes to gain helpful insight into our current situation and tailor health precautions accordingly. While additional positive cases may be identified through mass testing, the process will support measures to flatten the COVID-19 curve earlier and work to mitigate further spread.
“We thank our Paramedics for stepping up and supporting testing across the region,” said Jane Sinclair, General Manager of Health and Emergency Services, County of Simcoe. “The County alone has more than 1,600 combined staff and residents in our homes being tested over a two week period, and we want the public to know that as a result of such mass testing, there is the potential that we may see a positive COVID-19 case coming from the community. By identifying cases early, we can act to limit the spread and further protect our residents and staff.”
Paramedics are playing a key role in testing for COVID-19, however they cannot provide COVID-19 testing through a 9-1-1 call and are working directly through the Public Health Unit to provide community testing support. Residents are reminded that if they believe they have COVID-19 symptoms, they should contact a hospital to let them know they are arriving in advance or contact Public Health and they will coordinate a safe testing opportunity for you, such as a in home visit from a Paramedic. The County operates four long-term care homes and a continuum of seniors housing and services across the region. To-date, the County has not had a reported positive COVID-19 case among staff or residents in these facilities.
Municipal and health partners in Simcoe and Muskoka, including the County of Simcoe, the District of Muskoka, and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, are working together on a donation campaign for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and critical supplies that are essential for the provision of safe medical and community care to patients and residents in our region. Any businesses or community members looking to donate items can email EmergencyManagement@smdhu.org.
Information about how and where to send donations is available at smdhu.org/donations.
To follow the County’s efforts to support of our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic, like or follow County of Simcoe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.