On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District confirmed that 3 firefighters have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are at home under self-quarantine.
Steve Hill, spokesperson for the District, explained that to date a total of 8 people have been tested within the District for COVID-19. 3 tested positive, 3 tested negative and 2 results were still pending. Hill said the positive tests represent just 1% of the overall organization of 400+ employees.
As of March 23, Contra Costa Health Services reported 71 total cases in the county with 1 death. Statewide, the California Department of Public Health reported a total of 1,733 positive cases and 27 deaths as of March 22.
According to Hill, symptoms began about 2-weeks ago after 2 medics became exposed to a known COVID-19-patient which occurred prior to the District implementing safety measures for its first responders.
Since that time, the District has been doing contingency planning on a variety of situations should Contra Costa County see a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“At this time, we have no plans to brownout any stations are considering many options in our contingency planning because we do not have a crystal ball like anyone else or know what the surge could be or when it will hit,” said Hill. “We don’t know if its an Italy, Korea, or something different, so we have been putting plans in place for all of that.”
Hill believes the District is in a good position and believes it will not come to a reduction in service or browning out stations because employees get sick.
“We established really on specific personal protective protocols on specific medical calls for firefighters and AMR. We are confident we are protecting our people at work,” said Hill.
Hill encourages the public to shelter in place and if you are sick with flu like symptoms, do not go get groceries or go out in public—rather have someone else do it for you. He also encourages the public to wash hands frequently and use good judgement with social distancing to curb the virus spread noting it helps not only first responders, but the entire community.
For more information about the COVID-19, visit the California Department of Health.