Tuesday April 07, 2020

Cabarrus paramedic tests positive for COVID-19

Cabarrus County announced one of its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics has tested positive for COVID-19. The agency shared the information with employees on Tuesday, and reinforced work-related safety measures and off-duty best practices.

The employee completed their last shift on Friday. Later that day, they noticed the onset of multiple COVID-19 symptoms, began home isolation and notified agency administrators. They tested Saturday and received the positive test result Monday.

Cabarrus County EMS officials do not believe the employee cared for COVID-19 positive patients leading up to the onset of symptoms.

While the employee did not exhibit symptoms at work, the County and Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA), Cabarrus County’s public health authority, have identified and are monitoring individuals who may have an increased risk of exposure.

No other Cabarrus County EMS employees have exhibited COVID-19 symptoms. Agency guidelines permit employees who do not exhibit symptoms to continue in their role while following safety guidelines.

To maintain the safety of frontline emergency workers and the community, Cabarrus County has implemented the following measures:

  • 911 dispatchers ask callers if they exhibit symptoms so responders can properly prepare with personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Masks are used for responders and patients on all other calls
  • Responders receive daily temperature screens and symptom checks

Cabarrus County EMS has an adequate supply of PPE, including N-95 masks and gowns, for the projected numbers of cases in the County. The County’s Emergency Management department is working to secure additional PPE for ongoing needs related to the pandemic.

Cabarrus County residents with COVID-19 questions can call the CHA Health Information Line at 704-920-1213 or visit www.cabarrushealth.org.

Support for employees who contract COVID-19 at work
At its April 6 meeting, the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved support for employees who need time off to manage health consequences related to COVID-19 transmission through County business. The support goes beyond measures outlined in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including:

  • 80 hours of emergency sick pay to cover an employee’s first quarantine period
  • Discretionary pay to cover subsequent quarantine periods
  • County Manager authority to review and approve quarantine pay for employees who are not first responders, but are exposed through the course of their work

To view video of the April 6 Board of Commissioners meeting, visit www.youtube.com/cabarruscounty.

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