COVID-19 outbreak reported at call centre that dispatches paramedics to 911 calls
Nearly one quarter of all employees at a city call centre that dispatches paramedics to 911 calls have either tested positive for COVID-19 or been instructed to self-isolate following an exposure to a positive case.
Toronto Paramedics Services spokesperson Dineen Robinson says that 12 staff members at Toronto's Central Ambulance Communications Centre have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, though two of them have since recovered and returned to work. She said that as of this morning 10 workers remain in quarantine after testing positive and another 22 are in self-isolation in accordance with Toronto Public Health guidelines.
There are approximately 130 dispatchers that work at the call centre.
“There has been no disruption in service delivery to the public as a result of COVID-19 cases in our communications centre,” Robison said in a written statement provided to CP24. “Toronto Paramedic Services has proactive measures in place to protect staff and patients using best practice infection prevention and control procedures, PPE, daily screening, and isolating when testing positive or exposed to a colleague who has tested positive.”
Robinson did not provide any details on when the outbreak was first declared.
Toronto Paramedic Services Chief Gord McEachen did, however, tell reporters on Monday that there are several contingency plans in place to ensure that operations are not impacted by the outbreak.
“We have a flexible staffing model which allows us to redeploy our staff in various shifts. We also have qualified staff in our education and training unit (that can be used to field calls) and as a further fallback we also have qualified management team members that can step in to fill any staffing gaps,” he said.