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100+ first responders in the United States quarantined because of COVID-19 (and the number will likely increase)

18 Mar 2020 1:05 PM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Lieutenant (Ret.) Joseph “Paul” Manley, IPSA Board Member

In the United States, an increasing number of law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS providers have been ordered into 14-day quarantine at home or in-quarters after exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient.

As of March 18, 2020, we are aware of 25 Kirkland firefighters and two police officers; four King County EMS paramedics, including two interns; 77 San Jose firefighters; six Reedy Creek Florida firefighters; nine Albany County deputy sheriff’s; and five FDNY EMS providers who have been ordered into quarantine. There is a high likelihood additional personnel will be reported as in-quarantine, quarantine completed or released from quarantine in the days ahead.

Kirkland, Washington cases
More than two dozen first responders were quarantined for possible exposure to the coronavirus after they responded to a nursing home where numerous people have tested positive.

The City of Kirkland issued a press release that confirmed 25 Kirkland firefighters and two Kirkland police officers have been placed under quarantine “out of an abundance of caution” after they were exposed to the virus at a nursing home.

Kirkland Fire Station 21 was shut down to house the first responders under quarantine who cannot, or do not, want to go into home quarantine for fear of infecting family and friends. Neighboring fire departments will be providing additional support as one-quarter of the 100 sworn members of the Kirkland Fire Department remain under quarantine.

King County, Washington cases
EMTs working for American Medical Response Company (AMR) in King County, Washington were not informed when they transported a patient with COVOID-19 symptoms.

San Jose, California cases
The San Jose Fire Department placed 77 firefighters under quarantine after four of the department's members tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Reedy Creek, Florida cases
Reedy Creek Improvement District, the city-state that acts as Walt Disney World’s governmental agency, reports that seven firefighters and EMTs have been put under quarantine due to coronavirus.

Albany County, New York cases
According to Sheriff Apple, an Albany County Sheriff's deputy tested positive for COVID-19. The deputy, who was assigned to the judicial center, is recovering and has minor symptoms. The positive diagnosis forced the county to quarantine nine other deputies, putting a staffing strain on the department.

New York, New York cases
John Knox, former FDNY Fire Marshal, dies of coronavirus complications.  Additional FDNY members have also tested positive for COVID-19.

This news is highly illustrative of the dangerous role that our first responders play each and every day. Despite the ongoing risks associated with this virus for first responders, their families and their friends, they are all absolutely dedicated to protecting their communities with the services they need during these uncertain times.

About the Author

Paul Manley is a 30+ year public safety professional and adjunct faculty member at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. Paul is the Founder of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC and a retired Police Lieutenant and Executive Officer for the Nahant, Massachusetts Police Department. Paul has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Anna Maria College and is a Board-Certified Homeland Protection Professional (CHPP). Paul is honored to be a Board Member of the IPSA.

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IPSA COVID-19 webpage

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