Columbus firefighter tests positive for COVID-19

Posted at 5:08 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 17:08:44-04

COLUMBUS — A firefighter in Columbus has tested positive for COVID-19, the fire department announced on Monday.

In a news release, the Columbus Fire Department said the firefighter notified the department on March 24. The firefighter was off duty and away from the fire station when symptoms began. The firefighter was quickly tested and on Monday the fire department received the positive test result.

The firefighter, who resides outside of Bartholomew County, has experienced mild symptoms and will return to duty after receiving medical clearance. The fire department said no additional reports of symptoms have been identified by any firefighters assigned to the station.

"We are monitoring this incident and following the Bartholomew County Public Health guidelines and following their recommendations," Fire Chief Andy Lay said.

Lay said any firefighter who reports or shows signs or symptoms related to COVID-19 is being removed from service and asked to following the current screening guidelines.

The fire department said the positive result has been reported to health officials in the firefighter's county of residence. The fire department has placed increased emphasis on cleaning and sanitizing the stations, apparatus and equipment continuously.

"During the national COVID-19 virus emergency, our local first responders have remained on the front lines in providing the essential public safety services within our community," Lay said. "While the delivery of those services has remained our top priority, the safety of our firefighters is crucial to ensuring the continuity of those services."

The fire department has requested all fire department members to assess body temperature prior to reporting for duty. If a member reports a high temperature, the firefighter will be advised to receive further medical screening per local public health guidelines. All emergency equipment and apparatus are being cleaned and sanitized after each call for service.