Hamilton

Investigation into Niagara medic who came to work with COVID-19 finds 'areas of concern'

Niagara EMS says an investigation into circumstances surrounding a paramedic who found out he had tested positive for COVID-19 while at work "identified areas concern," noting the main factors that led up to the event were "preventable."

Chief says the service is 'grateful' the incident didn't cause 'significant long-term consequences'

Niagara EMS says changes will be made following an investigation into an April incident where a medic found out he had COVID-19 while on the job. (Niagara EMS)

Niagara EMS says an investigation into circumstances surrounding a paramedic who found out he had tested positive for COVID-19 while at work "identified areas concern," noting the main factors that led up to the event were "preventable."

Twenty-six other paramedics were forced into self-isolation in the middle of a pandemic when the staff member found out he had the virus in April.

"We are grateful that no significant long-term consequences to any other person resulted from this event, and rest assured, the decisions and outcomes of this incident have been assessed with the greatest regard for our people and the community we serve," said EMS Chief Kevin Smith.

The chief previously said that the service "took immediate action" once it discovered the medic had tested positive— directing everyone in the station to pull on protective equipment and carry out a deep cleaning of the station and ambulance.

All of the paramedics who were potentially exposed are healthy and have returned to work, he said in a statement sent to CBC on May 25.

The EMS service hired workplace investigation firm Mortimer Khoraych PC to probe the circumstances that led up to incident.

A media release states 21 witnesses were interviewed over the course of six weeks and a report was submitted to Niagara EMS which pointed to "areas of concern."

"While opportunities exist for system improvement to mitigate against such an event happening in the future, the primary factors influencing this event were preventable and outside Niagara Region policy," the release said, adding that while the service will take actions to close process gaps related to the incident, any actions taken regarding specific employees will remain confidential.

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