Mayor Young's Statement on First Responders Testing Positive for COVID-19
Thursday Mar 26th, 2020
Better Schools. Safer Streets. Stronger Neighborhoods.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD. — Today, Mayor Young announced that two Baltimore City Fire Department EMS providers and a member of the Baltimore Police Department tested positive for COVID-19. Mayor Young issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the people of Baltimore, we are all extremely grateful for our first responders. They have a very difficult job that requires them to place their lives on the line in order to protect the public’s health. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.”
“The City has prepared for this possibility, and will take all necessary precautions to limit contacts,” Mayor Young said. “My team will work with Commissioner Harrison, Fire Chief Ford and Health Commissioner Dr. Dzirasa to ensure these steps are taken immediately. The health and safety of our first responders is paramount.”
Prior to having two members test positive, the Fire Department had already put several preventative measures in place. All first responders are required to wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that includes goggles, masks, gowns, and gloves.
And two weeks ago, the Baltimore Police Department began the distribution of PPE and is working non-stop to ensure that officers are supplied with proper equipment as they carry out their daily duties. Recently, the Police Department received 3,000 N95 masks from the Baltimore City Fire Department, and The Home Depot supplied an additional 2,000 masks for officers. “We are taking this discovery very seriously,” Fire Chief Niles R. Ford said. “The last thing we want to do is marginalize our ability to serve the public, while we attempt to maintain our level of quality service. Once COVID-19 made its way in Maryland, specifically Baltimore City, everyone in the department received protocols and guidelines about protecting themselves and the community from this nationwide pandemic.”
“This afternoon, the Baltimore Police Department was notified that an officer tested positive for COVID-19,” Police Commissioner Harrison said. “This member has been off for over a week, while awaiting their test results. The department is taking the proactive and necessary precautions and continues to follow the recommendations of health officials within the Baltimore City Health Department. The health and safety of our members is my top priority and the department continues to remain fully committed to keeping the public safe.”
After the City learned of the positive tests, the Health Department initiated contact trace investigations. These investigations allow the Health Department to help determine who the individual may have come into contact with, and to inform those residents so that they can self-quarantine and take precautions to limit the spread of the virus.
“Data from previous epidemics have shown that first responders and medical personnel are at an increased risk of contracting contagious diseases such as COVID-19,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said. “The Baltimore City Health Department is working with Infection Control at the Baltimore Police Department and Fire Department to identify individuals who may have been exposed.”
“We appreciate the efforts of all of our first responders who are tirelessly working to protect the health of Baltimore City residents,” Mayor Young said. “I am confident that the actions being taken by Chief Ford, Commissioner Harrison, and Commissioner Dzirasa will limit the potential impact of this test.”