The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has developed a statewide training program to allow EMTs and paramedics to test patients for COVID-19.
DHEC piloted the program in Richland County in April, providing the first responders with guidance on how to collect COVID-19 specimens, and is now rolling the program out across South Carolina.
Over 200 EMTs and paramedics have been trained in specimen collection so far, according to a news release from the agency.
South Carolina has 268 emergency medical services agencies and 11,272 emergency personnel, which include EMTs, paramedics and other first responders.
Earlier this month, DHEC also began allowing EMTs to temporarily serve as nurse aides at nursing homes to meet residents’ needs for personal hygiene, nutrition, mobility, and taking vital signs, among other necessities.
“DHEC would like to thank EMS workers for the sacrifices they make every day, especially during COVID-19,” Rob Wronski, DHEC bureau director of health care professionals, said in the release. “South Carolina’s EMS workers have done an absolutely incredible job of assisting patients suffering from the virus while carefully preventing the spread of COVID-19.”p