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Miami offering in-home coronavirus testing for homebound senior citizens

Only select cities have begun the practice

MIAMI – Any Miami resident 65 years old and over exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms without access to transportation are now eligible for an in-home test, explained City of Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban.

The community paramedicine approach, he said, would allow for seniors displaying symptoms who are homebound, meaning they don’t have access to transportation, to call and have trained emergency medical technicians (EMTs), perform COVID-19 swab tests.

The EMTs would also deliver lab results and monitor their symptoms to ensure they can get ahead of this disease and help seniors who are unable to leave their homes.

If you know of someone fitting the criteria you are urged to call 305-960-5050.

Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell commended the fire department for its work identifying this community need. It said the City of Miami procured the tests privately and the fire department trained their EMTs on how to administer it. “We haven’t heard of any other city doing this yet,” said Commissioner Russell, “there is such a shortage of tests nationwide, we couldn’t wait as a city, so we went ahead and created a program for drive-thru testing and now at-home testing.”

Kathryn Kassner, CEO of the Bay Oaks Historic Retirement Residence, told Local 10 News’ Christina Vazquez she thought launching an in-home testing program for homebound seniors was a great idea, to assist seniors who do not have access to transportation while following isolation guidelines from public health officials.

Bay Oaks staff said they served as an EMT logistical training site for the program. As of right now, they don’t have any residents displaying symptoms.

89-year-old Janet Liedeker was one of the Bay Oaks residents who received the COVID-19 test as part of the training exercise.

She applauded the City of Miami, her residence, and the EMTs who she said arrived in their protective equipment and administered the test. She said it just took a few seconds and described it as a “relieving” experience.

At 89, she said with a laugh that she thought she had witnessed just about everything, until the arrival of COVID-19. Now she hopes all seniors will live to witness the eventual passing of this life-threatening virus.


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