More than 30 firefighters for D.C. Fire and EMS have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and some of them are back at work after recovering, fire officials say.
Fire Chief Gregory Dean said in a letter to his department Monday that two more firefighters had tested positive, bringing the total to 34 firefighters. Seven of the firefighters have recovered and returned to full duty, he said.
The sick firefighters are in self-quarantine.
"Please continue to take care of yourself and one another," Dean said in the letter.
The assistant fire chief previously tested positive. He was under quarantine for 14 days.
Dean urged firefighters not to come to work if they feel sick.
"If you were in contact with the infected members but have not been notified, you should contact our Infection Control Group to report your exposure or any suspected exposures," Dean said in a previous letter to the department. "We ask that you continue to take this pandemic seriously."
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The first two members of the D.C. Fire and EMS Department to test positive for COVID-19 are partners, sources said.
“Any patients that they interacted with on those several days they were working have been contacted,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said on “The Today Show.”
The first firefighter who tested positive may have worked two shifts while showing symptoms, sources said. Firefighters from both shifts are self-quarantined.
It’s unclear if the firefighter caught the virus on the job or away from work. It’s also unclear when he reported the virus to the fire department.
Every member is being checked for “signs and symptoms of illness” when they arrive to work, and their temperatures are being taken before they are allowed into quarters, Chief Gregory Dean said.
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Sixty-five inmates who were ordered to quarantine have now been released from quarantine.
Two cellmates were quarantined at the D.C. jail. One was tested because of international travel. Those results came back negative.