The Gleaner

Montérégie paramedics ‘out of breath’

Vicky Girard
Le Journal Saint-François
Translated by Sarah Rennie

With more than 11,000 ambulance transports linked to COVID-19 since March, and 18 paramedics having tested positive for the coronavirus, “the vast majority of the teams are out of breath,” says the Cooperative of ambulance technicians of Montérégie (Coopérative des techniciens ambulanciers de la Montérégie, or CETAM).

The CETAM, which represents more than 430 members, issued a press release on Dec. 8 addressing high levels of anxiety that are only increasing with the second wave.

“The equation is simple. If there are this many people in the emergency room, in intensive care, in the hands of our nurses and doctors, it’s because most of them arrived by ambulance,” says Jérémy Ménard, division chief and assistant to the general manager at the CETAM.

He notes that ambulance attendants who take a call involving a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must follow “a protection and disinfection protocol that is very strict, tedious and time-consuming.”

Andréanne Gilardeau, director of human resources at CETAM, maintains that even though the ambulance technicians “are not living in complete isolation due to their profession, they are still suffering, and it is far from over.”

Gilardeau says that the organization has a peer-assistance program but that she is not blind to the effects of the situation: “it is very hard on the morale of our troops.”

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