Local Paramedics COVID-19 Free Since Pandemic Began


Paramedics with Essex-Windsor EMS continue to be COVID-19 free.

This from Chief Bruce Krauter who says, despite being on the front lines, not a single member of his team has tested positive for the virus.

Krauter says on scene times have increased significantly due to paramedics having to don personal protective equipment at each call, but the safety of staff and patients remains priority one.

He says keeping enough PPE in stock has been tough.

"Personal protective equipment, we continue to have the same struggles in maintaining favourable levels of PPE or personal protective equipment. We have been doing a pretty good job, we're keeping our heads above water, but it is still quite difficult to find PPE."

Krauter says they've been using local companies to make PPE.

"We understood early on that PPE was going to become a problem. We, early on, took our disposable sheets and had them re-purposed and made into gowns by a local company out of Kingsville. We also utilized a local tooling company to tool a part for our masks so that we could adapt medical equipment."


Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter speaks at paramedic commencement ceremony. (Photo by AM800's Peter Langille)

He says outdoor trailers have been installed at hospitals to assist paramedics as well.

"We placed portable units at each hospital. They are climate-controlled and allow the paramedics to take off their equipment and clean and secure their equipment before they have to respond for another call. This was also staffed by part-time people and mostly paramedic students from St. Clair College and we continue that today."

Call volumes have returned to normal after a 35% drop when the pandemic began in March, something Krauter attributes to people being afraid to go to the hospital.

The pandemic has had a major financial impact on Essex-Windsor EMS — a report from the County of Essex shows unexpected costs of $966,000 for PPE and $958,000 for additional wages.