The United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) received a letter from Susan Picarello, assistant deputy minister for health, about $795,164 in extra funding for the regional emergency services department to deal with extra expenses in 2020 because of COVID-19.
The money covers the period from March 1 to December 31 when Prescott-Russell paramedics faced increases in their workload through assisting the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) on COVID-19 cases. That included responding to emergencies at local long-term care facilities (LTCs) with confirmed cases of COVID-19, assisting local doctors and nurses with COVID-19 testing of residents and staff at LTCs and senior retirement homes, and other call-outs where the disease might be involved.
There was no indication in the letter if similar extra funding would be available for the ambulance service this year. UCPR administration told council during its February 24 session that the money mentioned in the letter is “one-time only” funding and there is no word yet from the ministry if it would provide extra funds related to the pandemic for local ambulance services.