Local health ­authority ­partners with ­paramedics co-op to increase coronavirus testing

By Michael Boriero – Local ­Journalism Initiative Reporter

The CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS recently entered into a partnership with the Coopérative de travailleurs d’ambulance de l’Estrie (CTAE) – a paramedics co-op in the Eastern Townships – in order to offset the loss of personnel heading on summer vacation.
The CTAE engaged in partnership discussions with the Township’s health authority three weeks ago. According to the co-op’s director of operations, Jean-François Pellerin, the process went by relatively quickly as the CIUSSS needed extra hands.
“We are proud to strengthen our contribution in this fight against the virus by making our professionals and equipment available to help,” Pellerin said in a statement.
Pellerin added that the CTAE had plenty of resources to spare. They have the necessary specialized equipment used for testing and recently purchased an adaptable trailer, which was transformed into a mobile screening clinic.
The materials are stationed at 500 Rue Murray in Sherbrooke, where they are being used to help employees at the CIUSSS. However, the mobile trailer can be deployed to any location in the Townships, according to a press release.
The CTAE also hired 15 paramedics this summer, which made it easier for Pellerin to divvy up his staff to alleviate pressure for people working at screening clinics. The national health authority gave paramedics permission to go beyond normal duties.
The co-op also has three ambulances in reserve at its disposal, he continued, which could be used as impromptu mobile screening clinics. Pellerin said that employment options are limited for paramedics. This initiative creates some diversity in the field.

Testing recommended
With construction holidays wrapped up, Health Minister Christian Dubé, is asking people who travelled across Quebec to be on the lookout for potential symptoms and to get tested if they start showing any signs.
Dubé also called on parents with children attending day camps and daycares to stay vigilant after Quebec reported several COVID-19 outbreaks. He added that the situation is under control, but parents should not be shy to bring their children to a screening clinic.
The health minister concluded with a reminder that screening is essential to stopping the spread of the coronavirus in the community. According to a Quebec government press release, the virus is still circulating, which is why people need to be proactive.
“Testing is one of our most powerful weapons in our fight against the virus, especially in view of a potential second wave of COVID-19. I’m confident that we will be able to control the spread of the virus in this way,” Dubé said.
The latest COVID-19 data reveals 123 new cases in the province over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of people infected to 59,845. Three new cases were reported in the Estrie region, bringing the local total to 1,064. The province recorded one new death in the last 24 hours for a total of 5,685.
The number of hospitalizations decreased by three for a total of 169. Among these, 21 patients are in intensive care, which is an increase of three. On August 2, 9,574 tests were performed, for a cumulative total of 1,277,886.

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