Firefighters exposed to Clark Co. coronavirus patient


Both firefighters are quarantining themselves for the next 7 days

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Two Clark County firefighters were exposed to the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the county, according to a spokesperson with Clark County Fire District 6 on Saturday.

The two firefighters came into contact with the patient while treating the man on Sunday, March 1. According to CCFD6, neither of those firefighters have exhibited any symptoms of the virus, however, both people are quarantining themselves for the next week.

“There’s two firefighters in this facility that were exposed,” said Fire Chief Kristan Maurer. “They are asymptomatic at this time, which is good because having no symptoms reduces the risk of them transmitting that disease to other personnel that they’ve worked with.”

Continuing Coverage on the Coronavirus

Maurer said the two firefighters treated the infected patient seven days ago, so they will be in quarantine for another seven days, which would be the two week period in which people who contract the virus will typically exhibit symptoms.

“During those seven days, they had been at work and worked with fire crews at this station,” said Maurer. “However, the medical program director said because they were asymptomatic, their chance of transmitting is low.”

Fire Chief Kristan Maurer. March 7, 2020 (KOIN)

Because of this incident, medical personnel will be using extra precautions on future calls. The fire chief said that when the coronavirus first became a concern, the fire station had already stepped up its cleaning regimen. She said those practices will continue as the region deals with the outbreak.

“We are increasing our protection level since this exposure,” said Maurer. “We are having all of our fire personnel on any medical call wear a mask and so that’s just to reduce the potential exposure how that we have confirmed it’s in Clark County.”

Clark County health officials confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in the county Friday night, March 6. The confirmed case is a male patient in his 70s. The man was in isolation while the test results were pending, said Clark County Public Health. With the test results now confirmed as positive, that patient will remain in isolation at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. 

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