AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – COVID-19 testing is underway for Augusta fire crews.
The department saying five employees have recently tested positive.
The department is checking employees who worked at the same station as those who tested positive.
“We’re addressing it we’re assuring that people are tested so when a firefighter is diagnosed positive we test all the other firefighters who are in that station that have been around them,” said Chief Chris James.
James says the firefighters who tested positive will not be retiring to work until they are cleared by a doctor.
The Department has released the following statement:
Augusta Fire/EMA is aware that five firefighters have recently tested positive for COVID-19. These five firefighters were all sent home and instructed to self-isolate per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
To the Department’s knowledge, these firefighters have not had any recent interactions with the public.
In response to the positive tests, Augusta Fire/EMA is currently performing testing at several stations with the assistance of its medical director Augusta University Health. By testing firefighters at several stations, the Department is attempting to make sure the virus has not spread outside of the five known cases. With AU Health’s rapid testing system, Augusta Fire/EMA has been receiving results within a matter of hours.
Firefighters are given two options while they await their results. They can either selfquarantine at the station or at their home. Firefighters with negative test results are required to return to work. Those with a positive test are told to follow CDC guidelines and self-isolate within their home.
Since March, firefighters have been instructed to practice social distancing, wear masks, monitor their symptoms daily, and routinely disinfect the stations to protect themselves and their fellow firefighters while on duty.
At this time, the Augusta Fire/EMA continues to maintain minimum staffing levels to ensure the people of Augusta remain safe and have the emergency services they expect