UPDATE: COVID Outbreak Within Essex-Windsor EMS
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at an Essex-Windsor EMS facility.
According to EMS Chief Bruce Krauter, a total of 10 paramedics have now tested positive for the virus, adding "The reason we've been declared an outbreak is we have two within the workplace that are linked or are together. The other eight are from community spread."
Krauter says the biggest pressure now, is now the number of people who are off work.
"It's not only the 10, but if there's any close contacts they may have been having before they got tested, they may have had contact with some of our workers so then we isolate them for precaution and to monitor symptoms," he says.
With no paramedics in the region getting COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic, Krauter says it does concern him how quickly the virus has spread during the second wave.
"That it's more risk, more ability for the virus to infect our ranks and it does bother me that at some point we may not have ambulances that are able to respond," he says," says Krauter. "But we're trying to mitigate that as much as possible and communicate that to the public as much as possible."
According to a release from the county, there is absolutely no evidence of patient-to-paramedic or paramedic-to-patient transmission of the virus and all Essex-Windsor EMS facilities are subject to heightened cleaning and disinfection practices.
All of those infected are recovering at home and had no contact with patients or the public.