Archive for category Coronavirus

Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from NBCchicago.com:

At least 94 employees of the Chicago Fire Department have tested positive for the coronavirus, of those, 18 members have already returned to duty. Nineteen are being quarantined after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

On Monday, CFD buried Mario Araujo, the first member of the department to die from the coronavirus.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from nbcchicago.com:

Several dozen members of the Chicago Fire Department have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the department to 46. Of those, nine employees have returned to duty as of Tuesday. Another 18 are currently quarantined after a confirmed exposure to the coronavirus.

When the department announced its first coronavirus case three weeks ago, the CFD was taking measures to protect its members from the disease, including dedicating specific ambulances for patients with suspected COVID-19. The department still has four ambulance dedicated for that purpose.

For now, all paramedics responding to respiratory calls or suspected COVID-19 patients are dressing in personal protective equipment including an N-95 mask, face shield and gloves. Paramedics who use a CPAP breathing machine on a patient, regardless of the call involving COVID-19, are sleeping in separate quarters to minimize possible exposure. Firehouses and ambulances are also undergoing thorough cleanings after contact with a coronavirus patient.

The Chicago police announced Tuesday that 112 of its members have tested positive for COVID-19. Last week a veteran undercover CPD officer died from the coronavirus.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from thehill.com:

At least 5,000 firefighters across the U.S. are under quarantine because of the coronavirus according to the International Association of Fire Fighters. Only 500 of the 3,400 fire departments in the union are reporting coronavirus numbers to the union. Among those 500 departments, 5,000 firefighters are in quarantine, 3,000 are in isolation, and 700 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Public health officials in states hardest hit by the coronavirus have been warning for weeks of shortages of personal protective equipment for first responders police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and health care personnel on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. now has more than 347,000 confirmed cases and over 10,000 coronavirus deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) – (more)

Worldwide COVID-19 infections top 1,000,000,000 – United States passes 236,000

worldwide confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 1 million

click to download

HERE is the interactive map

 

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from the sbsun.com:

To ensure uninterrupted service during the coronavirus pandemic, 18 fire departments in San Bernardino County, CA have joined under a regional management team, an action usually reserved for fighting large wildfires. The team was formed on March 6 to manage exposed and/or sick members of its agency, to ensure personnel have necessary personal protective equipment, and to maintain consistent communication. 

Those agencies are now united to ensure consistent service regardless of jurisdiction. As the virus establishes itself within our county, citizens may see fire apparatus from other departments responding in their communities and even firefighters from different agencies on the same engine company.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from IAFC.org:

The Senate approved more than $163 billion designated to assist local fire and EMS departments as part of an economic stimulus package to safeguard the U.S. economy and help the nation respond effectively to the 2019 novel coronavirus and its resulting illness, COVID-19. The House is expected to pass the $2 trillion stimulus bill on Friday.
 
This bill includes multiple funding streams to reimburse fire and EMS departments for the costs of their operations:

  • $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse eligible healthcare providers for healthcare expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to the coronavirus. Funding could go to public entities; providers enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, and other for-profit and nonprofit entities that provide diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with COVID-19. 
  • $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to reimburse activities such as medical response, procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), National Guard deployment, coordination of logistics, implementation of safety measures, and provision of community services. According to FEMA, these funds will cover overtime and backfill costs; the costs of supplies such as disinfectants, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment; and apparatus usage. (The federal government will cover 75% of these costs.) The IAFC recommends that fire chiefs consult the guidance from Chief Keith Bryant, the U.S. Fire Administrator, and FEMA’s new fact sheet on FEMA’s Simplified Public Assistance Application. In addition, they should consult with their state emergency managers to begin the process of being reimbursed.
  • $100 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program for PPE, supplies, and reimbursements. This funding is specific to COVID-19 PPE, supplies, etc. The IAFC has contacted FEMA to ask when this special application period will take place.
  • $100 million for Emergency Management Performance grants for emergency preparedness. This grant program is run by FEMA. The IAFC will provide more information in the future about applying for these grants.
  • $7 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Management account to provide PPE and baseline testing for wildland firefighters. This funding will be spent at the discretion of the chief of the Forest Service, and it is expected to be used for USDA’s wildland firefighting operations.

The bill also attempts to address the shortage of needed emergency supplies:

  • $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile supplies of PPE and drugs.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to improve the national supply chain and improve the production of PPE, ventilators, and other needed equipment, and funding for federal, state, and local agencies to purchase this equipment.
  • $1.5 billion for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s State and Local Preparedness Grant.
  • Addresses drug shortages by allowing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prioritize and expedite the review of drug applications and inspections to prevent or mitigate drug shortages. The legislation also requires drug manufacturers to share information on their drug volume and report when there is a supply interruption due to shortages of the active pharmaceutical ingredient.

Additionally, the bill addresses life-safety priorities:

  • Allows fire sprinkler retrofit installations in commercial buildings to qualify for bonus depreciation through 2027 as well as a 15-year depreciation period in perpetuity after 2027.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from wtnh.com:

The New Haven Fire Department has purchased an AeroClave device, a fogging system that disinfects on contact. It takes about three minutes for the machine to disinfect an ambulance.

“We are using it for firefighters or medics that go into a building of potential exposure. When they come out, we can actually decontaminate the firefighters gear and spray the firefighter right down on scene,” said Mark Vendetto, Assistant Chief Operations.

He said, “we had two incidences where firefighters reported that they might be potentially exposed. We had those firefighters tested and while they were being tested, we went to the stations where they were assigned and fogged every square inch of that station. It will fill every nook and cranny in the room entirely. It fills the room with the chemical from the ceiling to the floor, covering every crack and crevice in the room.”

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from Chicago.cbslocal.com:

Businesses across the area are reprogramming their machines to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and medical professionals. They’re doing what they can to help as COVID-19 eats up resources across the country. .

The machines at Bridgewater Studio are now programed to cut out protective face shields used by emergency personnel and medical professionals. It’s another layer of protection at a time when PPE is in high demand. They hope to make about 6,000 face shields a day. The Cicero Fire Department already ordered about 1,200 of them. Cicero police will also use them.

Tapster Robotics in Oak Park is 3D printing bands that can be used for similar shields. They plan to print about 50 per day, and get them to hospitals or medical professionals who need more equipment.

Cicero’s fire chief said the shields were very affordable. Bridgewater said they’re charging just the manufacturing costs, plus the money needed to keep the lights on and keep their workers’ health insurance.

As for Tapster’s operation, they said the parts will be donated, because their manufacturing cost is very minimal.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from Fox32Chicago.com:

The first state-operated drive-thru test site for COVID-19 opened Monday to first responders emergency workers and health professionals at a repurposed vehicle emissions test building at 6959 Forest Preserve Drive, near Harlem Irving Plaza. The Illinois National Guard will test 250 people on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

About 115 Illinois National Guard members work at the Harwood Heights Community Testing Site. The site is also the first drive-through test site operated by the state. Two test sites that opened over the weekend in Walmart parking lots in the suburbs were run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The test site reached its daily capacity by 12:30 p.m.

Before the site opened, four Chicago police officers and two CFD paramedics had tested positive for COVID-19.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from kqed.org:

When Hayward (CA) Fire Chief Garrett Contreras saw that San Jose had to quarantine many of its firefighters after they were exposed to coronavirus, he thought it could happen to his city too.

In response, he rallied community members and a private company to make sure Hayward is keeping track of its coronavirus outbreak. The city will open a testing facility geared towards first responders emergency workers and health-care workers. They will also test members of the public who are symptomatic. The fire chief is the brainchild of the effort, inspired by the ongoing difficulty of getting Hayward’s firefighters tested after possible exposure.

“Suppression through isolation after testing, or SIT, as we call it, is an approach that has proven to be most effective in countries on the leading edge of this pandemic,” Contreras said.

On March 15, he began sending out hundreds of emails and LinkedIn messages to city leaders and labs. He also became a student of the virus, observing how other countries, such as South Korea and Italy, varied in their response to the crisis. In days, he secured $500,000 from the City of Hayward and a partnership with Avellino Lab USA, Inc., based in Menlo Park — a company specializing in gene therapy, molecular diagnostics and medicine for eye care.

The center has enough test kits for up to 370 people a day, for about a month. The testing is free to the public and open to anyone, regardless of city, county, or immigration status. Those who wish to be tested will first need to go through a screening process before a test is administered. The test involves swabbing of the nasal cavities and the back of the throat. No referral from a medical doctor is required to be screened, and results will be available in as soon as six hours or the next day.

Contreras says his station is treating the effort as they would a natural disaster, with special strike teams that go out on suspected coronavirus calls. Firefighters at the testing station are on duty for seven days, just like they would during a wildfire, after which they’ll be tested before taking a break and resuming another assignment.

“I believe that expertise is being underutilized right now because people don’t make the connection of the fire service to an event like this,” he said. “It’s seen as a health care problem and this is a disaster on par with a 7.0 earthquake.”

Contreras also sees the testing site as an effort to decrease the pressure on hospital emergency rooms. “There is enough equipment out there,” he said. “My belief is it’s just not in the places it needs to [be] because it’s not organized the way that we would organize resources in the fire.”

The testing center will operate seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be staffed by the Hayward Fire Department with both firefighters and paramedics. It will also be supported by emergency medical technicians.

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