Regional Paramedic Program Begins
After several months of planning, we kicked off the 2021-22 Regional Paramedic Program Class on Monday. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we can now offer the first portion of the class 100% online using Microsoft Teams. Employing distance learning enables us to reach more trainees across our catchment, with 37 students enrolled in the class.
I want to thank the Regional Paramedic Program lead instructor Brian Wilcox, faculty Todd Reisner, Tim Richardson, Sue Lananger, and Mickey Forness, and Medical Directors Dr. Brian Walters and Dr. Michael Faulk for all their work over the last year to bring this program to our region. They all will be a part of molding 37 new paramedics over the next 14 months. They will ensure our students are well prepared to enter the field as paramedics.
New STHCS Website
Through our access to Catchafire, we were able to work with professionals that volunteered to review and work toward making our website a more user-friendly experience. I am happy to report that the website has been modified to be more useful for all those visiting www.sthcs.org.
I want to thank the various Catchafire volunteers for assisting us in performing these much-needed updates. I would also like to recognize the generosity of the WNY Nonprofit Support Group, along with the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, ESL Charitable Foundation, the Health Foundation for Western & Central NY, John R. Oishei Foundation, Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, United Way of Greater Rochester, United Way of Southern Chautauqua, and the WNY Foundation, for allowing us the opportunity to have access to Catchafire and all the professional volunteers.
New Health Advisory Could Create a Health Crisis
I'd like to thank Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Joe Giglio for taking time out of their schedule to meet and work with us on getting the advisory from December 26, 2020 addressed in Albany. A new health advisory was released by the Department of Health that has led to some inconceivable consequences on our EMS providers. Due to the advisory, restrictions were placed on healthcare workers, including new criteria for quarantine. Many of the local EMS agencies have been experiencing up to a 50% reduction in staffing as a result.
I am very appreciative to Dr. Walters, Dr. Lamothe, Chief Richardson, Chief Sturdevant, Bobby Kuhn, and Todd Reisner for spending many hours working to ensure we have coverage. As well as working to make sure the message is clear to Albany - this needs to be resolved, or we will be facing a health care crisis.
National Blood Donor Month
January is the beginning of a new year and the perfect time to start the year celebrating National Blood Donor Month. Due to COVID-19 and an increased seasonal illness during the winter months and inclement weather conditions, blood and platelet donations decline, and demand increases.
Donating blood with ConnectLife is the ONLY way to ensure that your blood donations stay in Western New York, including Olean General Hospital. STHCS is hosting a blood drive on January 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in celebration of National Blood Donor Month. Additionally, ANY ConnectLife blood drive during the month of January - you'll get a FREE pint of Perry's Ice Cream! To make your appointment to donate, click here.
Happy New Year!
It is hard to believe that 2020 has come to an end. This has been a challenging year for many, but I am happy to say that STHCS has continued its programming regardless of the current environment in which we live.
We have collaborated with many organizations throughout this tough year, and I've been able to see how true our motto, "We're Better Together," is, especially after this challenging year.
I am looking forward to moving into 2021 and cannot wait to see what this new year brings!
COVID-19 Vaccination for EMS
The COVID-19 vaccine is here, and many health professionals, including EMS providers, have started to receive their first doses! It is great to see the recognition EMS received from NYS by being included in Phase 1a of the vaccination plan. This truly shows how important EMS is to public health.
Getting EMS providers into the hospitals to receive their vaccine has been a great collaboration between the hospitals, the county offices of emergency services and health departments, and the many EMS agencies.
I’d like to take this time to wish everyone Happy Holidays. This holiday season looks different than most other years, but it’s important to enjoy the spirit of giving and refresh yourself as we move toward the New Year!
Busy Year for Safe Kids
Our Safe Kids Southern Tier New York program has had a very busy year with several safety initiatives! We successfully distributed nearly 200 bicycle helmets in the three-county catchment with the help of several EMS and Law Enforcement agencies. Additionally, we held our first child safety virtual event - Watch and Win - that had many participants learning information regarding child safety, including medication safety, infant safe sleep, and liquid laundry packet safety. We are already looking forward to what Safe Kids brings in 2021!