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Over 15 Delaware first responders including medics and police officers in quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 patients, fire company says

At least 15 first responders are in quarantine after coming into contact with a COVID-19 patient who did not reveal to them that they were positive or having symptoms for the coronavirus (COVID-19) according to a release from the Claymont Fire Company.

Claymont (DE): 46 year-old Tom DiCristofaro, president of Claymont Fire Company took to his fire company’s Facebook page to express his frustrations as at least one member of his fire company tested positive and others were sent into self-quarantine including four police officers.

“I beg and plead for all my friends, neighbors and fellow Delawareans, in the event you need to call for an ambulance for someone in your household and when the ambulance crew arrives, please do not withhold any pertinent information from the EMT’s.”, DiCristofaro said.

DiCristofaro says that there was at least two known ambulance calls where the patient was COVID-19 positive and did not reveal to either 9-1-1 operators or arriving emergency medical services that they were positive for the disease COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. He also says that the family of the patients knew their family member was positive but did not reveal their status as well.

Although our staff takes precautions on every call they‘re on, extra precautions are taken if we know the patient is positive and a possible exposure risk. And it’s not just us, on many calls the County Police or County Paramedics might be first on scene, tell them any information that is pertinent about the patient., DiCristofaro said.

New Castle County issued its paramedics and first responders personal protective equipment in mid-March, saying that they should wear it when dealing with patients who have or believe they may have coronavirus. County officials said they are tracking all suspected or confirmed cases and the first responders who deal with those people.

“Of the two calls I’m referring to, because the family withheld that information, a total of 15 public safety workers are in quarantine from the first call, 5 firefighters, 3 EMT’s, 4 County Police Officers and 3 County Paramedics are out of service for 14 days.”, DiCristofaro said.

DiCristofaro said on the most recent call, we have had to quarantine 4 firefighters who went to assist the EMT’s with lifting the patient. Both of these calls, the family at the residence KNEW the patient was COVID-19 positive, but withheld that information.

DiCristofaro said “we now have 9 firefighters in quarantine. This certainly could have been prevented if only the information was communicated to the ambulance crew. This loss hits us hard as volunteers are harder to come by these days, and ultimately hurts the response to our community.”

DiCristofaro is pleading to the public that if you know you are positive or experiencing any symptoms of the COVID-19 disease, to please inform 9-1-1 operators and arriving emergency medical personell.

Claymont Fire Company has proudly served the Claymont community for 92 years and we will continue that tradition for many years to come. But please, don’t make our job any harder or more stressful then it already is., DiCristofaro said.

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