Shelton's Echo Hose members receive vaccine, offer first responders COVID testing

Echo Hose Ambulance

Echo Hose Ambulance

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Echo Hose Ambulance staffers are approved to receive the COVID vaccine and are also offering testing for the city’s first responders.

Echo Hose Ambulance, in partnership with Shelton-based Progressive Diagnostics, began offering a saliva test to its volunteers last week, Assistant Chief Joe Laucella told Hearst Connecticut Media. Laucella said the testing is open to the city’s other first responders as well.

“This is meant to offer a level of comfort,” Laucella said, adding that the testing has only been done internally.

“The test gives an opportunity to testing our EMS team if there has been a questionable exposure,” Laucella added. “It also allows us to do surveillance testing. Other first responders are offering this … and it allows us to get results back in an efficient manner.”

Laucella said the testing cannot be offered to the general public because his service does not have the resources. He said he hopes the testing can be expanded to city employees at some time in the future.

Progressive Diagnostics coordinated training, according to Laucella. First responders can request the test, then come to the ambulance headquarters. Staffers will collect the saliva test and coordinate pickup by Progressive Diagnostics, which then delivers the test to the lab. Results will be available between 24 and 72 hours after reaching the lab, Laucella added.

Laucella said Echo Hose Ambulance was authorized last week for its members to receive the vaccine. He said he received his last week and called it a “blessing.

“It went well,” Laucella said, adding that he experienced no adverse reactions. “(The vaccine) offers relief … I can keep my family safe, as well as the patients and members of the community that I deal with.”

Laucella said he would recommend people opting for the vaccine when afforded the opportunity. He said that among the 100 Echo Hose Ambulance volunteers, “a large majority have stated they will get the vaccine without hesitation.”