'I've never seen anything like it' Simcoe County paramedics respond to increase in calls
BARRIE, ONT. -- Paramedics across Simcoe County urge residents to heed the advice of medical professionals and obey the guidelines to avoid transmission of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
CTV's Craig Momney spoke with Simcoe County Paramedic Services director and chief, Andrew Robert, about his experiences.
Craig Momney - What have paramedics been seeing with COVID-19 patients in the past few weeks?
Chief Andrew Robert - In the past few weeks, I can tell you that our call volume has been up. We are participating in so many different activities. We're at every vaccination clinic that is happening around the county right now. We have paramedics vaccination, we're taking part in the IMS GTA, and local IMS transports, interfacility transports between hospitals to help manage ICU and hospital capacities.
Craig Momney - What is typically needed for these complicated transfers?
Chief Andrew Robert - The majority of the critical care, the ICU level transfers are done by ORNG in Ontario. They have run up against capacity issues there, and we have outfitted; we work with our local hospital here at RVH and head of critical care there to outfit our ambulances to understand how we can fit extra equipment and support some of those critical care transports.
Craig Momney - Have you ever seen anything like this before?
Chief Andrew Robert - You know, I haven't. This is a new one. We've been through SARS; there's always different iterations to operations. But at a level that we're experiencing today, when we're well over a year in, we've been doing enhance screening protocols with our staff, enhanced PPE use, different medical processes to reduce the potential for viral spread. I've never seen anything like it in my career, and I've been at it for 37 years.
Craig Momney - What do paramedics see when they are dealing with COVID-19 patients that they wish the public knew or understood?
Chief Andrew Robert - I can tell you, one of the things that frustrate paramedics is where they see the public flaunting the public health guidance; not wearing a mask, congregating together when they're not within their family groups.
The paramedics are acutely aware of what's going on in the hospitals, the level of fatigue that's across the entire healthcare system, well beyond the healthcare system.
Let's face it; I don't think there's a profession that's not tired of this existence that we're in right now, and we're looking for a way out. And the way out is really adherence to the public health guidance on how to reduce the spread, get their immunizations, wear their masks, and when they see that, it impacts them a lot.