Jeffery Snow has been our community paramedic for the past three years and has worked as a paramedic for over three decades. He is now certified to offer COVID-19 testing to clients (Caitlin Thompson photo)

Bella Coola’s community paramedic can now test people for COVID-19

Jeffery Snow became certified to offer COVID-19 testing on Jan. 13, 2021

Local community paramedic Jeffery Snow is the Valley’s latest defense against COVID-19. Snow, who is Nuxalk and was born and raised in Bella Coola, has been a paramedic for 35 years, mostly in the lower mainland.

In 2017 he moved home to take the position of local community paramedic, where he is employed by BC Emergency Health Services.

Snow has recently become certified to test residents for COVID-19 after completing the course and shadowing Nuxalk Public Health Nurse Sophie Mack.

“Now that I am trained to do COVID-19 testing I can also do home visits throughout the Valley for people wanting a test,” said Snow. “If you need a test you can book through Amy Pootlass at 250.799.5441 or drop in to the Band Office.”

Snow said there are two options for the test: a swishing and gargling test or the nasal swab.

The community paramedicine program employes full time paramedics in rural communities to not only respond in emergency situations, but also help to provide primary care within their scope of practice. Rural paramedicine started as a pilot project in Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Hardy, Cortes Island, Fort St. James, Hazelton, Chetwynd, Creston and Princeton in the spring of 2017.

It has since grown to 129 community paramedic positions, with many of the 99 communities having two paramedics sharing the equivalent of a full-time position.