Three members of the Fire/EMS Department have tested positive for the coronavirus.
All are isolating at home for at least 10 days, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. City staff have worked with the Harvey County Health Department to conduct contact tracing, and all those who may have come into contact with the employees have been notified.
"The health and safety of our employees and our community members is our top priority," Fire/EMS Chief Steve Roberson said. "It’s a testament to the diligent work of our staff that our department has gone this long without a positive case. But like any other frontline workers, we’re not immune to this virus, and I’m thankful that our employees are doing well so far."
Fire/EMS employees have been practicing social distancing and have been instructed to wear masks at work even while in the stations, which have been closed to the public since March. The source of the infection is believed to be a family contact of one of the employees.
Since the start of the pandemic, Fire/EMS has implemented additional procedures for responding to calls, including extra sanitizing and use of personal protective equipment, to keep patients and responders safe. The department is following its COVID-19 mitigation plan to ensure continuity of operations.
"The public should rest assured that when they dial 911, someone will be there to provide safe and effective care when they need it," Roberson said.
As part of the department’s mitigation plan, essential health care workers are allowed to continue to work after a possible exposure. Personnel must remain free of symptoms, wear a mask, adhere to isolation/quarantine guidelines when away from work, and maintain a daily screening log of temperature/symptoms for submission to the health department.
Roberson urged the public to remain vigilant about curbing the spread of the coronavirus in the community.
"We are all tired of this pandemic, but our cases continue to rise at an alarming rate," he said. "Please keep taking those small actions — avoid gatherings, wear a face mask in public, and wash your hands frequently."
Since March, the city has provided employees in all departments access to hand sanitizer, gloves and masks and directed employees who feel ill or display COVID-19 symptoms not to come to work.
Harvey County’s website has the most up-to-date local coronavirus information, including current statistics, health orders and guidance from the health department, at harveycounty.com.