Paramedic service hit with 30 COVID-19 cases after off-duty gathering

The exposures took place at a private social gathering last Wednesday, said Pierre Poirier, Ottawa's paramedic chief, in a memo to council.

Another 93 patients deemed to be close contacts, says paramedic chief

An off-duty gathering last week has led to 30 employees of the Ottawa Paramedic Service coming down with COVID-19, the city's paramedic chief said Tuesday evening. (Reno Patry/CBC)

Thirty employees with the Ottawa Paramedic Service have come down with COVID-19 following a private get-together last week, the city says.

The exposures took place at an off-duty social gathering on Dec. 15, said Pierre Poirier, chief of the paramedic service, in a memo to council Tuesday evening.

One member of the service who was asymptomatic at the time of the gathering later tested positive, Poirier said.

While 93 patients have been identified as close contacts, Poirier said the risk of exposure is considered low to moderate due the service's "strict infection control" and its protocols around the use of personal protective equipment.

The paramedic service employees were asymptomatic and had not received positive test results when those contacts occurred, he added.

Last week, indoor gatherings were capped at 25 people in Ontario and outdoor gatherings limited to 100. Tougher restrictions went into effect Sunday due to soaring COVID-19 case counts.

Poirier's memo did not say how many people were at the gathering.

The paramedic service has put "enhanced infection control measures" in place, Poirier said, and so far operations have not been affected by the outbreak.


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