BALTIMORE — Three first responders have tested positive for COVID-19 in Baltimore City.
Mayor Jack Young made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday.
Young said the positive cases included two Baltimore City Fire/EMS and one Baltimore Police Officer.
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.”
Baltimore Police released a statement on the confirmed case in the department:
This afternoon, the Baltimore Police Department was notified that an officer assigned to the Eastern District received a positive test result for COVID-19. This member has been off for over a week while awaiting their test results. The Department is taking this case very seriously and undertaking all the necessary precautions. We will continue to follow the recommendations of health officials within the Baltimore City Health Department and other public health experts, to include the CDC. The health and safety of our members is our top priority and the department continues to remain fully committed to keep its members and the public safe.