AUGUSTA, Maine — The Augusta Fire Department announced Tuesday that all 50 of its employees have tested negative for COVID-19. All Augusta fire and rescue personnel were tested after a firefighter/paramedic tested positive on May 5.
Six firefighters/paramedics were subsequently placed in a 14-day quarantine.
The department worked closely with the Maine CDC and Maine EMS to do contract tracing and investigate the situation. Based on the investigation, they determined there were three patients who had limited contact with the firefighter/paramedic who tested positive. They have been contacted by the Maine CDC.
The fire station immediately closed and was cleaned by a private contractor per CDC guidelines. Trucks and equipment—which are cleaned daily—were cleaned again.
On May 7, test kits were delivered and over the course of five days, all 50 department employees were tested, including all operational front-line firefighters and paramedics, all administrative and command staff, and the department mechanic.
“We wish to thank the entire community for their kind words and support” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “We have been overwhelmed with phone calls and messages from our mutual aid departments and fellow firefighters throughout the state offering support.”
The fire department says this hasn’t had an impact on their ability to respond to emergencies, and the public should not be deterred from calling 911 when they need assistance.
"Augusta Firefighters understand there is significant risk to their own health & safety as they work to serve the public during this unprecedented pandemic. The Fire Department will continue to provide support to our employees and their families as we move forward."
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus
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