OTTAWA -- Kristine Burgess is sharing a picture of her 3-month old son Jameson hugging his father Tyler Burgess after he returned from a night shift as a Renfrew County Paramedic.

Burgess says it is a reminder of the importance of self-isolation, “I get emotional thinking about it. If you look at the little boy’s eyes, I just want (people) to stay home. My boys deserve to have their daddy come home at the end of his shift healthy.”

She says she wanted to share the picture to show what frontline workers come home to after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tyler Burgess has been working as a paramedics since 2016. He works as an Advanced Care Paramedic member of the Sierra Team and Community Paramedic program.

Recently his job has changed drastically. He works on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Renfrew County, including doing at home assessments for the virus in full protective gear.

Tyler Burgess says, “It is not a common event in the world of para-medicine where we deal with pandemics. The thing with this, is knowing I am going into a high risk environment.”

He says his nerves are heightened but has full confidence in his training and the Renfrew County Paramedic service.

The Renfrew Paramedic Service is one of the only paramedic services to do at home assessments for COVID-19. The paramedics go in the home, do a full clinical assessment of the patient and swab the back of the nose to test for COVID-19. That test is then immediately taken to a lab, and then public health will do the follow-up with the individual over the phone.

Paramedic Chief Michael Nolan says it helps keep people self-isolating at home, while allowing the public health unit to more easily test a significant number of people.

Renfrew County has recorded two positive cases and on Sunday recorded its first COVID-19 related death. Nolan says, “Our paramedics have been involved in each of those cases. Our sympathies to the families of those involved. “

Nolan says the pandemic is a unique situation for the service and it will last a long time and take a toll on paramedics. “This is not a drill, this is the real thing,” he says.

Nolan says he is proud of all the members of the service. “And my advice to my staff is we need to be prepared for the weeks and months ahead.”

Nolan says the public in Renfrew County is asked to call the health unit at 613-735-8654 and work through the questionnaire about COVID-19. The health unit's phone lines are open 7-days a week, Monday to Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.