Five South Bend firefighters are in self-quarantine after interacting with a patient last week who has since tested positive for COVID-19.
The firefighters were out on a call not related to COVID-19 on March 14th. The person they interacted with has now tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. All five firefighters are in quarantine waiting for test results.
Raymond Schultz is the Executive Director of the 911 Center in St. Joseph County. He says it’s critical for 911 callers to answer dispatchers’ questions.
“It’s important that all though the questions may seem cumbersome, or you think that it’s delaying help, in essence it’s not. It’s making sure that we get the right help there with the right protection so they can go to work right away.”
Schultz says they’ve started asking questions related to COVID-19 on all calls that require first responders to have close contact with other people.
The full release from the City of South Bend about this is below.
Five South Bend Fire Department firefighters interacted with a patient last Saturday, March 14, for a 911 call unrelated to COVID-19. The Department was informed later in the week that the patient has now tested positive for COVID-19. All five firefighters are in quarantine awaiting test results.
The Department has implemented processes and protocols to prevent exposure during medical calls related to COVID-19, including limiting interaction with the patient, wearing full personal protective equipment, and following new protocol when handing off a patient at the hospital.
The reality is that firefighters, police officers, EMTs, nurses, and doctors will have to interact with COVID-19 patients as we respond to this pandemic. It’s important that 911 callers be forthcoming with dispatchers if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are calling for other reasons.