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PHMDC, MFD partner to create COVID-19 Outbreak Response Team

August 28, 2020 8:31 AM

Logan Rude

Posted: August 28, 2020 8:31 AM

Community Paramedics (L-R) Amanda Englehart, Mindy Dessert,
Raena Glauvitz, Seth SandersPhoto courtesy of Madison Fire Department

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Fire Department and Public Health Madison & Dane County are partnering to catch outbreaks of the coronavirus before they spread into the community.

The new Outbreak Response Team, which is staffed by MFD Community Paramedics, will primarily focus on outbreaks in living facilities like nursing homes, but they will also respond to other potential outbreaks.

“People who live in congregate facilities have contact with staff and other people in the facility, so the number of contacts per case can be higher than average,” according to Karri Bartlett, Operations Chief for Public Health Madison & Dane County. “Going to the facility and providing testing and contact tracing on-site allows us to rapidly quarantine and isolate all contacts and cases, and reduce COVID-19 in those facilities.”

When PHMDC identifies a potential outbreak, the Outbreak Response Team will respond to administer COVID-19 tests to all residents and staff at the facility.

A new partnership between #Madison Fire and @PublicHealthMDC is boosting local response to #COVID19 by catching outbreaks before they spread further into our community.

Read about the new “Outbreak Response Team” on the #MFDBlog:

— Madison Fire Dept. (@MadisonWIFire) August 27, 2020

The team first starting responding to outbreaks in mid-July. Since then, the team has administered more than 100 COVID-19 tests throughout Dane County.

According to a news release, outbreak testing also provides greater access to testing for people who are homeless, uninsured or cannot easily make it to a clinic or community testing site.

“It felt nice for us because there was a moment where we started to feel like, ‘What can we do? How can we help?’” Community Paramedic Mindy Dessert said. “Now that it’s up and running, it feels really rewarding to be able to take some of the load off from the other people who have been doing so much of this.”

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