Brandyl Hewlett Facebook photo.

Abbotsford paramedic urges honesty about COVID-19 symptoms to frontline workers

Brandyl Hewlett said his team worked a long shift, attending to calls 'plagued with dishonesty'

  • Apr. 11, 2020 12:00 a.m.

An Abbotsford paramedic is urging patients to be honest with frontline healthcare workers about their COVID-19 symptoms after he worked a tough shift for BC Ambulance Services.

Eleven hours into his shift on April 10, Brandyl Hewlett posted on social media to report that every call his team attended that day was “plagued with dishonesty” about potential COVID-19 symptoms.

“Every call, we were greeted at the door by people telling us not to worry, [that there were] definitely no infectious concerns,” Hewlett said in the post. “Upon a very quick exam, we have found that every patient, in fact, has some sort of infectious concern.

“At the worst one, [the] family was leaving the room we were in to sneak off and cough where we couldn’t hear [it]. I caught [someone] doing so when I went looking for medications in the house.”

Hewlett also said that his team is running low on personal protective equipment, and often attending these calls not properly equipped. He said he’s using a single N95 mask for an entire shift.

“Previously we would have used a dozen at this point, but we reuse them now. [It’s] unsafe, but [we’re] stretching it longer.”

Hewlett also said that he saw dozens of people in public parks, when they should be at home.

“That’s dozens too many. Go home!” he said. “Stay at home. And remember, staying at home does not mean you should invite people over.”

On his last call of the day, Hewlett said he got emotional after seeing an older man cheering the ambulance on from his car.

“He waves to me, then gives a thumbs up. Then both his hands come up, waving his fists with thumbs held high,” Hewlett said. “He held them up after I made my turn, I could see in the mirror. He had a smile on his face the whole time.

“The rest of the drive, I had a single manly tear in my eye.”

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