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Additional firefighters in San Bernardino County test positive for COVID-19

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. On April 4th, 2020, the Incident Commander of San Bernardino County’s All Hazard Regional Incident Management Team (IMT) was notified that three additional firefighters tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total number of active cases to five.

The newly affected firefighters are from the following agencies: San Bernardino County Fire Protection District and Daggett Fire Department.

In response to a confirmed exposure and with the onset of symptoms, the above firefighters entered self-isolation.

Several days ago, the announcement was made that the first two firefighters were exposed and tested positive for COVID-19.

None of the five affected have required hospitalization for their symptoms. They remain in isolation under the supervision of healthcare professionals and are expected to fully recover.

In addition to developing a testing plan, the IMT has also identified a return-to-work flow path for firefighters who have previously tested positive.

Once a firefighter has fully recovered from symptoms, procedures have been put in effect to safely return personnel to the workplace. This ensures, to the greatest extent possible, that first responders are not contributing to the spread of this virus. 

The IMT has been planning for the last several weeks for the possibility of exposure and infection to the County’s first responders. The team’s regional plan is working well and ensures that fire, rescue, and EMS service delivery will not be interrupted regardless of jurisdiction. Fire and ambulance services within the County remain fully staffed and equipped to respond to all emergencies.

Exposure to COVID-19 amongst county firefighters and paramedics has remained low. This is due in large part to first responders having access to the proper PPE’s and the public’s adherence to the recommendations of the 911 operators to keep social distancing as emergency responders arrive on scene.

Command and General staff of the IMT are working with Public Health to determine the employees’ travels and interactions to help control further spread of the virus.

The Incident Management Team thanks the public for their continued vigilance and adherence to all guidelines and recommendations from Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Stay healthy; stay safe; stay covered; stay home.

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