Toronto’s firefighter association said on Saturday six firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
Toronto Fire Services was not able to say how many firefighters are in isolation as a result of the positive tests.
Frank Ramagnano, president of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, said physical distancing has been hard on the job, so the firefighters have been relying on personal protective equipment to guard against the virus.
“But we have to be very careful about how we use that PPE, it’s in short supply,” he said, noting that members of the public should keep their distance from firefighters during non-emergency calls.
“If you maintain your distance, firefighters don’t have to wear PPE for every call.”
In addition to the six firefighters who were sickened, Ramagnano said more than 200 were off the job and in self-isolation.
A spokesman for the fire service says the outbreak has not affected operations.
5 Toronto firefighters test positive for COVID-19. As always, we’re doing all we can for our members and all Torontonians as the pandemic takes its course. Continue looking out for yourselves and each other. Stay home. Stay safe. https://t.co/glDWLW3Bvn #Toronto #COVID19
— Toronto Firefighters (@TPFFA) March 29, 2020
Oakville firefighter tests positive for coronavirus
An Oakville firefighter has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus as well, the Oakville Professional Firefighters Association reported Sunday.
“Sad to report one of our firefighters has tested positive for COVID-19,” a tweet said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. We are working diligently to ensure the safety of our members as we continue to protect the public.”
Oakville fire chief Brian Durdin confirmed on Sunday that a firefighter is in self-isolation at the direction of the local health unit.
“Since the firefighter last worked a shift in Oakville on March 19, and did not display symptoms until March 23, they are primarily reaching out to direct contacts that took place after March 21, 2020,” Durdin said.
Durdin added that the fire hall and truck have been deep-cleaned.
“Internally we have had the fire hall and truck where the staff member last worked prior to the onset of symptoms deep cleaned as an extra precaution,” he said. “The affected staff member’s crew will continue to self-monitor as per protocols recommend by the Halton Health Unit.”
The fire department has also implemented a mandatory self-screening protocol. Durdin said firefighters must screen themselves prior to going to work and halfway through their shift.