Supporting frontline paramedics during COVID-19 keeps Jo-Ann Hendry more than busy these days. One of two deputy chiefs with the Haliburton County Paramedic Service, Hendry’s job is to provide ongoing information and education to paramedics.

In relation to COVID-19, she said their focus has been on putting on, wearing, and taking off proper personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as standards and regulations that are continually changing. She is also participating on multiple task forces, committees and organizing of the assessment centre.

“The current most important role through this pandemic is to protect and support our frontline paramedics,” she said.

It isn’t completely new territory for her as she was an on-road paramedic during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. She also had a managerial position during the ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in 2014.

Hendry said COVID-19 had changed a lot of things for frontline paramedics.

“They have gone from a fast-paced, critical thinking, decision-making, treatment-based working diagnosis to our focus being shifted to assessing a patient from a distance in full PPE to mitigate and manage the COVID-19 risk. Our paramedics continue to provide service for the sick and injured during a time of increased risk of communicable disease transmission,” she said.

She had a number of thanks you’s, including: The County of Haliburton, Haliburton Highlands Health Services, Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team and the physicians in Haliburton and Minden, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network, OPP, municipal fire departments, and the Central East Local Health Integration Network.

“I would also like to thank the rest of the HCPS management team, our executive assistant, community paramedic and staff of paramedics for their dedication and continuing efforts to battle this invisible threat. Haliburton County residents, and in time, our visitors, can be confident in the quality of care they will receive.”

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