2 north country EMS agencies receive NYS designation to administer COVID-19 vaccine and testing

WATERTOWN, NY – To support efforts around the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Country EMS Program Agency (NCEMS) at FDRHPO is pleased to announce a new designation for two regional EMS agencies enabling them to vaccinate and/or test for COVID-19.

Gouverneur Rescue Squad in St. Lawrence County and South Jefferson Rescue Squad, Inc. in Jefferson County both applied for and were approved to operate a Community Paramedicine Program through New York State. Gouverneur Rescue Squad is designated to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, and South Jefferson Rescue Squad is designated to administer both COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.

“This is another important service that our EMS agencies are willing and able to provide to their communities,” explains Ann Smith, NCEMS Program Director. “It is definitely a morale booster to be able to contribute to the fight to prevent COVID-19 rather than only seeing and transporting very sick COVID-suspected patients to the hospital.”

These two agencies will work with their local health departments to determine the needs within their respective counties. It is expected that the majority of tests and/or vaccinations will be administered within the homes of home-bound patients who are unable to travel to one of the vaccination clinics.

“This is just one example of the professional capabilities of our EMS providers in the region,” concludes Mrs. Smith. “It is a step in the right direction to expand the services they are designated to provide. Hopefully, in the future, an Executive Order from the Governor will not be necessary to allow them to provide such important services.”

Additional agencies are expected to apply and receive this designation. The Community Paramedicine Designation is valid through the end of the year OR until the Governor’s Executive Order expires.