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Westfield paramedics now equipped with rapid COVID-19 test kits

The kits will go to Westfield's field response paramedics to test people at home who are showing symptoms.

WESTFIELD, Ind. — A new game plan is underway in Westfield to test people showing symptoms of COVID-19 without them ever leaving home. 

There are several benefits to the new level of COVID-19 testing in Westfield. It includes making sure people who come down with the coronavirus get the help they need right away and know how to protect others. 

"We hope to educate them. We have resources with stay-at-home instructions," said Westfield EMS Division Chief Patrick Hutchison.

Hutchison showed 13News one of their new COVID-19 testing kits and how it can give results within 15 minutes. He said the test is not as invasive as some of the more recent tests given at drug stores and drive-thru locations.

"You take this and insert it in the nostril," said Hutchison. "You don't go all the way up just the interior of the nostril."

Westfield EMS was recruited by Hamilton County health officials to train how to administer the rapid test kits. The kits will go to Westfield's field response paramedics to test people at home who are showing symptoms.

"This, we hope, will decrease the number of hospital patients that come in to be evaluated there," said Hutchison.

The new level of testing comes as more people in central Indiana and across the country request COVID-19 testing, fearing exposure to the virus. Hutchison believes their home tests in Westfield could keep hospital beds open for more severe cases. During the home tests, based on the level of sickness diagnosed by Westfield field resource paramedics, the patient will receive immediate care options.   

"If they need medications like Tylenol or meds to control nausea or vomiting or fluid replacement, we can help with that," Hutchison said.

Hutchison stressed that people without signs of having the virus should undergo regular COVID-19 testing since this particular test is designed to detect the virus in people who are ill. There is a risk of the test result being inaccurate if the patient is asymptomatic.

Hutchinson and his team are hoping that people who are not sick will not tie up 911 to request a test. 

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