A member of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual began feeling sick on March 18 and was tested for COVID-19 eight days later. This week the test came back as positive. The individual experienced mild symptoms and is recovering.
The individual has not been to work since the onset of symptoms over three weeks ago. They will remain on leave until a subsequent test is negative. There have been no other similar illnesses reported among the individual’s shift or station. This does not appear to be a job-related exposure.
Currently, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has no other personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 17 department members under quarantine due to unrelated exposures. We continue to fully staff all fire stations and apparatus.
“Protecting the health and safety of the members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department a top priority,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “We are grateful that this member of our fire and rescue family has recovered from their symptoms and are doing everything we can to support them and their family. Throughout this COVID-19 outbreak, we have been continuously reviewing our policies to ensure we are following the recommendations from public health officials and putting practices in place for any potential exposure to our personnel.”
Since the start of COVID-19’s spread in the Washington Metropolitan area, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has taken increased precautions to limit exposure to its providers and the public. Providers are required to don a complete COVID-19 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) ensemble in response to potential COVID-19 calls. This ensemble includes a gown, gloves, N95 mask, eye protection, and face shield.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue also adjusted its medical response procedures that allow providers to continue to provide high-quality medical care while limiting the number of providers who come in close contact with the patient. One or two providers assess the patient while other providers remain outside the patient care area. The remaining providers are always ready to assist if needed.