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3rd DC firefighter with positive test — 141 firefighters under self-quarantine

The firefighters are connected to three firehouses -- self-quarantine numbers expected to grow

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As is happening around the country, firefighters & EMS personnel in the Nation’s Capital have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 issues. Three DC Fire & EMS Department firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19 resulting in the self-quarantine of at least 141 firefighters. At a press conference moments ago, Chief Gregory Dean says the self-quarantine numbers are expected to grow once details are learned about fire and EMS personnel who have had contact with the most recent firefighter with a positive test. At least three firehouses in DC have been impacted — Engine 20, Engine 19 and Engine 32.

LIVE: Providing an update on coronavirus (COVID-19) in the District. For a stream with captions visit bit.ly/mmblive. To learn more visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

Posted by Mayor Bowser on Thursday, March 19, 2020

In an effort to prevent further issues, the DC Fire & EMS Department has instituted wellness checks of firefighters. paramedics and EMTs at the start of each shift that includes taking temperatures of crews coming on duty. The department has halted early relief at all firehouses. Chief Dean also announced that there’s the possibility of self-quarantine of AMR personnel who may have had contact with the three firefighters. AMR provides private ambulance service in the District of Columbia in coordination with DC Fire & EMS.

The news about the first two firefighters with COVID-19 leaked out to reporters yesterday (Wednesday) through IAFF Local 36 and other sources rather than official word coming from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration. It’s not clear why the mayor kept this information close and didn’t share it publicly or comment after the news broke. The mayor’s office has generally been the singular sources of the city’s COVID-19 information. The only official acknowledgement yesterday was apparently a  DC Fire & EMS Department tweet sharing a statement from Chief Dean at 11:14 p.m. last night (see below). At Mayor Bowser’s press conference today, Chief Dean announced the details about the third firefighter and answered reporter questions.

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