2 North Country EMS agencies designated by NYS to administer COVID-19 vaccine and testing

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FILE – In this Jan. 12, 2021 file photo, a health care professional prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital in Ramat Gan, Israel. Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s office said Sundya, Jan. 31, 2021, that Israel has agreed to transfer 5,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the Palestinians to immunize front-line medical workers. It is the first time that Israel has confirmed the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Two emergency management service agencies in the North Country have received state designation to vaccinate and test for COVID-19.

The North Country EMS Program Agency at Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization announced on Tuesday that both the Gouverneur Rescue Squad in St. Lawrence County, and the South Jefferson Rescue Squad, Inc. in Jefferson County have received this designation.

Specifically, according to FDRHPO, both applied and were approved to operate a Community Paramedicine Program through New York State.

Gouverneur Rescue Squad is now able to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, and South Jefferson Rescue Squad is designated to administer both COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.

Ann Smith, North Country EMS Program Agency program Director commented on how this will continue to help the North Country through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is another important service that our EMS agencies are willing and able to provide to their communities,” stated Smith. “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.”

FDRHPO stated that the two agencies will work with local health departments to determine needs within respective communities. Adding that the majority of tests and vaccinations will be administered within the homes of home-bound patients who are unable to travel.

Additional agencies are expected to apply and receive this designation. 

The Community Paramedicine Designation is valid through the end of the year or until executive orders enacted by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo expires.

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