FRAMINGHAM – Three Framingham Firefighters were potentially exposed to the coronavirus on Sunday night, March 15, Framingham Source has confirmed with multiple individuals.
The news outlet has learned that all three firefighters are waiting for test results on the COVID-19 virus as of this morning, March 16. All three are in a self-quarantine, according to multiple firefighters.
“The City cannot comment on specific patient’s and firefighter’s medical conditions due to HIPAA and Personnel privacy rules,” said Acting Fire Chief Michael Dutcher this evening, March 16. “Additionally, there is no on-scene testing available to determine if patients are in fact COVID-19 infected, so first responders must assume that condition if the patient exhibits the symptoms of the COVID-19 related illness.”
“Even though there are three City residents with confirmed COVID-19 cases, and multiple others in isolation, there are no confirmed exposures to City first responders,” said Chief Dutcher in a statement after 4:30 p.m. today.
“In the last 48 hours, there is one firefighter who was relieved from duty and instructed to self-quarantine out an abundance of caution from an incident involving a patient presenting some symptoms similar to COVID-19 illness. That patient is not suspected of actually having COVID-19, and the City is awaiting State and Federal test results before Personnel returns to duty,” said Chief Dutcher to SOURCE this afternoon, in a statement issued by The City’s Public Information Officer Kelly McFalls.
Framingham Station 7, in Nobscot, is undergoing a deep cleaning, and one of the vehicles has been removed from service, according to City of Framingham employees.
Chief Dutcher said “the City’s first responders have been preparing for the COVID-19 outbreak well before any positive cases were reported in Framingham.”
He said “city leaders are working with State, Federal and private-sector experts to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City’s workforce and operations.”
Chief Dutcher said the “City’s 911 Emergency Medical Dispatch provider had already instituted protocols for answering 911 calls that vet potential COVID-19 infected patients and get that information to City first responders before they make contact with the patient.”
The “City had instituted additional first responder protocols so that exposure from suspected patients is minimized,” said Chief Dutcher.
“The City has first responders equipped with additional Personal Protective Equipment should contact be necessary with a patient suspected of having the COVID-19 virus,” said Chief Dutcher.
“Due to the length of time it takes to decontaminate an ambulance that has transported a patient that is suspected of having the COVID-19 virus, Brewster has generally been providing a backup ambulance to the City when these incidents occur,” said Chief Dutcher.
In the last month, the number of Brewster ambulances covering the City has never fallen to point where the City had to request a mutual aid ambulance from another community for a 911 call, explained Chief Dutcher.