WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Five emergency medical technicians and paramedics are in self-quarantine after coming home to Jefferson County from a COVID-19 hotspot.
Three Carthage Area Rescue Squad members went to New Rochelle, which is 30 minutes outside New York City. Westchester has the highest number of COVID-19 cases at 220. According to Paul Barter, director of Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services, the members are self-quarantined for 72 to 96 hours.
He said the chances the CARS members got the virus is relatively low because he says they were never in direct line of any patient.
Barter said the squad members wore protective gear as they drove nurses to homes. Those nurses would go inside homes to test patients. While the nurses were inside, Carthage squad members stayed outside and put an open cooler by the door.
When the nurses were finished, they put the sealed samples into the cooler, never touching the cooler. Carthage members then closed the cooler and put it in the vehicle.
Barter also said no local ambulances were taken to New Rochelle.
Meanwhile, 2 squad members from the Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service, or TIERS, also went to New Rochelle.
They came back over the weekend and self-quarantined. Barter said he’s in contact with them daily and they are doing fine with no symptoms.
If any symptoms develop during the isolation period, Jefferson County Public Health will immediately begin testing and take appropriate precautions consistent with CDC guidelines to ensure that the public remains safe.