FDNY firefighter tests positive for COVID-19; 31 quarantined

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Saturday that a Brooklyn firefighter tested positive; shifts for firefighters and EMS have been modified in response to the outbreak


Erik Bascome
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK — A member of the FDNY has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference Saturday afternoon.

“We have a new confirmed case, a member of the FDNY from a firehouse in Brooklyn,” de Blasio said. “I’m going to give you some information. We do not have every detail yet and we are still doing some notifications and actions, so this is purposefully partial information until we have further confirmation."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Saturday that an FDNY firefighter stationed in Brooklyn has tested positive for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The FDNY is modifying firefighter and EMS shifts and has quarantined 31 of its members following the most recent case. (Photo/NYC Mayor's Office Facebook)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Saturday that an FDNY firefighter stationed in Brooklyn has tested positive for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The FDNY is modifying firefighter and EMS shifts and has quarantined 31 of its members following the most recent case. (Photo/NYC Mayor's Office Facebook)

The total of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City is now 183, said de Blasio.

The FDNY member worked from Sunday through Tuesday before returning home and exhibiting symptoms. The FDNY member tested positive late Friday, de Blasio said. He did not say which firehouse the firefighter worked at.

“While on duty, the firefighter did not respond to any medical runs or treat any patients,” the mayor said.

The affected FDNY member and all members of the firehouse that came into direct contact with them were immediately quarantined.

“As a matter of precaution, 31 members of that firehouse will be quarantined immediately, those who had worked with the member directly, and the member is now quarantined at home,” de Blasio said.

According to the mayor, other house members will have the firehouse up and running this evening following a thorough cleaning of the facilities.

“Other members of the house who were not in direct contact will take over the operations of the house. It’s being cleaned right now. The firehouse will be fully operational and up and running by 6 p.m.,” said de Blasio. “There are other fire resources in the area that obviously can cover any other need in the intervening time."

Leaders of the FDNY’s two largest unions, FDNY-Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Jake Lemonda and FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association President Gerard Fitzgerald, issued statements on Saturday following the announcement.

“The Fire Department of New York has confirmed a member has tested positive for Coronavirus. The Uniformed Fire Officers Union is working with fellow unions, the Department, City Officials and healthcare experts to take actions to protect the entire membership. This is a very serious situation that needs to be monitored closely while all Firefighters and Fire Officers continue their duties protecting the citizens of New York,” said Lemonda.

“The health, safety, protection, and wellbeing of our Firefighters is our paramount concern. We will not allow our members to be put at risk. We are working in close cooperation with the Department to ensure the safety of all of our members from the Coronavirus. It was brought to my attention that a member of the Department has tested positive for COVID-19 and I am renewing my call for expedited testing for all New York City Firefighters and Fire Officers exhibiting symptoms,” Fitzgerald said.

It was reported earlier that 38 members of the city Fire Department (FDNY) were put under quarantine for the coronavirus, and due to that, the FDNY will change up shifts to control the spread of the virus. It was unclear on Saturday if the 31 FDNY members exposed are included in that figure.

The New York Post reported that the quarantine will cause the department to switch EMS workers from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts. In addition, the FDNY will also eliminate partner rotation, the report said.

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©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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