Miami Fire Rescue paramedics don full protective gear to test seniors for COVID-19

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MIAMI (WSVN) - City of Miami paramedics could be seen wearing full protective gear to test senior citizens at assisted living facilities for the coronavirus.

Crews could be seen arriving at the facility to test residents for the virus on Wednesday.

Jose Duasso owns and operates four assisted living facilities in Miami and Cutler Bay that are responsible for 86 seniors between 85 and 100 years old.

“No words can describe the appreciation that I have for the City of Miami and the fire department,” Duasso said. “That puts us on the offense.”

Duasso added that he is counting his blessings to see his residents in the first batch of in-home COVID-19 tests administered by the City of Miami.

“They’re very much home-bounds,” he said. “They don’t get out there, so without [them] coming, there’s no way that I could test them successfully.”

Soon after the fire truck arrived, 7News cameras captured the firefighters suiting up in protective gear before going into the facility to conduct the tests.

Only three residents at the facility were tested because they have regular contact with nurses and other outside medical professionals, which puts them at a higher risk.

Duasso believes the in-home testing and strict quarantine measures are the only way to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

“We don’t have any cases or anyone with symptoms, but by testing, we know exactly what we have inside,” he said.

Another aspect of the fight against the virus is personal protective equipment. For the past month, Duasso has been calling on state health officials to provide more N95 masks and other gear to assisted living facilities.

Duasso showed 7News cameras some of the supplies he had received from Miami-Dade County, but he said it is not nearly enough. Although he is grateful, Duasso knows it is going to take a lot more to win the battle against the virus.

“They really only — don’t even scratch the surface, but if I have the situation, now I have enough of the PPEs in order to be able to isolate and contain,” Duasso said. “A back-to-back request has been done, but at wartime, let us not forget supplies are always thin. We must stretch it and pray that we can get more supplies in the next two to three weeks.”

Duasso said the residents should receive their test results within the next three to four days.

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