(Update: Adding video, comment by battalion chief)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Two Bend firefighters recently tested positive for COVID-19, the department announced late Monday. Both firefighters are in stable condition, with minimal signs or symptoms, and are in quarantine at their homes.
One of the first responders was exposed on duty and was immediately given a COVID-19 test at a clinic and sent home for self-isolation. The other was exposed on vacation, took a test as soon as symptoms arose, and did not return to work, officials said.
Bend Fire & Rescue’s policy requires an employee to take a COVID-19 test when the employee is exposed or begins feeling ill, and the worker then must self-quarantine at home. The employee must have a negative COVID-19 test and be symptom free-for 72 hours before returning to work.
“Our teams have been working hard on the front lines during this pandemic to provide emergency services to our community,” Fire Chief Todd Riley said. “We will do everything we can to keep all our employees safe and healthy.”
Bend Fire & Rescue said first responders use personal protective equipment and thorough cleaning procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, employees are required to take their temperature at the beginning and in the middle of every shift, to ensure the health and wellness of the employees and the public they serve.
Bend Fire & Rescue facilities remain closed to the public to limit exposure, and many non-response personnel are working from home. The department said it closely follows Gov. Kate Brown’s directive and CDC-recommended social distancing and cleaning procedures.
Despite their adherence to the Governor's guidelines, Bend Fire & Rescue does not have specific travel regulations in place for their employees.
When asked if they would have done anything differently to avoid the COVID-19 cases, Battalion Chief Trish Connolly told NewsChannel 21, "We are very confident in our protocols and procedures, and our top priority is the health and safety of our employees."
The city also noted it "does not disclose any private information that could compromise the protected health information of the individuals."