FDNY COVID-19 count nearly doubles in one day; 84 now tested positive

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said earlier this week that 46 FDNY members had tested positive


Jordan Hafizi
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK — With the number of people in the city testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) growing by the day – 84 members of the FDNY have tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday, according to an FDNY spokesman.

The number of FDNY employees who have tested positive has almost doubled since Tuesday, when FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro stated during an interview on Fox News that 46 members had tested positive for coronavirus.

FDNY EMS providers wear personal protective equipment outside a COVID-19 testing site at Elmhurst Hospital Center, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The FDNY confirmed Wednesday that 84 members of the department have now tested positive for COVID-19, nearly twice the amount confirmed as of Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
FDNY EMS providers wear personal protective equipment outside a COVID-19 testing site at Elmhurst Hospital Center, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The FDNY confirmed Wednesday that 84 members of the department have now tested positive for COVID-19, nearly twice the amount confirmed as of Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

According to a spokesman for the FDNY, the department has taken several countermeasures to ensure that the virus isn’t transmitted.

Firefighters in each firehouse are broken up into four shifts. Each shift will work a 24-hour tour and each firefighter will only work with those people who are on their shift in order to avoid transmission of the virus. By having firefighters constantly work with the same people, the Fire Department says the risk of transmission is much lower.

If a firefighter on a shift tests positive for coronavirus, it then falls on the firefighters who were working with the infected firefighter to self-monitor and self-report daily data about whether they are feeling sick or showing any symptoms of the coronavirus.

A firefighter who spoke with the Advance/SILive.com said the department has set unrealistic standards and guidelines when it comes to preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“There’s some concern in the firehouse because certain equipment isn’t really our own equipment, it’s equipment on the truck that we all share and some of the equipment has to do with the breathing apparatus," said a firefighter, who requested not to be named. “We can easily get the virus. We’re sort of left for dead, at this point. It’s kind of like they’re telling us if we get it, we have to deal with it.”

When the Advance/SILive.com reached out to the FDNY about its cleaning policy, we were told that the department is following CDC guidelines and is monitoring each case independently to curb the spread of the virus. Firefighters are told to wipe down commonly used surfaces with a bleach or alcohol solution regularly.

Firefighters are also told to regularly decontaminate protective equipment after it’s used on a job.

We were also told that FDNY officials are looking into contracting out cleaning of their firehouses to professionals in order to ensure firefighter safety and minimize possible contact with the virus.

On Tuesday, the NYPD announced that more than 200 employees have tested positive for coronavirus.

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©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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