Oxford paramedics have tested 16,000 people to date: Chief

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Oxford County paramedics have so far tested more than 16,000 people for COVID-19 and given vaccines to 1,7000 more, the service’s paramedic chief reported recently.

The update came as Oxford paramedics helped open a mass vaccination clinic in Tillsonburg on April 27. As it continues to scale up, the facility – one of three mass immunization clinics in the Southwestern Public Health region – will be able to provide more than 300 shots a day, Oxford County Parademics chief Ben Addley said during an update to Oxford County council.

“Today, we have capacity for 180, this week scaling up to over 200 and scaling to over 300 immunizations per day next week,” Addley said.

Paramedics have delivered 1,700 vaccines through mobile clinics to residents in congregate living and those who are homebound. The service also started a community paramedicine program with the goal of keeping patients, especially those with chronic or palliative conditions, out of hospital. That program has seen nearly 200 patients more than 700 times, Addley said.

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Paramedics have also been involved in balancing patients loads from Toronto-area hospitals in Southwestern Ontario, he said.

“Paramedic services have been a key partner on the front line in responding to COVID-19 in support of Southwestern Public Health and our health-care partners since the beginning of COVID,” Addley said.

Addley and Mark Dager, director for Woodingford Lodge,  have provided verbal updates to councillors on the status of first responders and long-term care every few weeks to this point in the pandemic, giving the county representatives a chance to ask questions about the impact of the pandemic on the county’s operations.

Coun. Stephen Molnar took the opportunity to thank paramedics and the Oxford County leadership team for their help after an apartment fire displaced residents from 47 units in that building.

“The amazing assistance, the professionalism, while not surprising, once again reinforced the value, and being exposed to that demonstrated the passion that emergency services personnel provided that day and always,” Molnar said.

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