Eighth person in department to test positive
Gina Cook and NBC Washington Staff, with permission
WASHINGTON (NBC Washington) – The assistant fire chief for D.C. Fire and EMS is the eighth person in the department to test positive for the novel coronavirus, fire officials said Monday.
Fire Chief Gregory Dean said the assistant chief was tested after he didn’t feel well over the weekend. He is under quarantine for the next 14 days.
“He is in good spirits and is doing well,” Dean said in a letter to his department.
Dean urged firefighters not to come to work if they feel sick.
Seven other firefighters have contracted the virus in recent days.
On Sunday, health officials notified the fire department that three more firefighters had tested positive.
Two firefighters were home and their conditions were improving, the department previously said.
“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.”
As of Sunday night, there were 118 firefighters under self-quarantine.
D.C. Fire and EMS said Saturday the fourth firefighter to test positive worked in the same station as one of the three previously confirmed cases.
“Just one first responder being impacted has a ripple effect,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Thursday.
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 Thursday 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.
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.