IRVINE (CBSLA) – An Orange County Fire Authority crew based in Irvine was set to return home from self-quarantine after a patient they came into contact with tested negative for coronavirus.
OCFA Monday announced that the patient suspected of having coronavirus tested negative and the firefighters “isolated out of an abundance of caution are going home.”
The agency reported Monday that four personnel from Fire Station No. 20, located at 7050 Corsair, decided to self-quarantine after they transported a patient Saturday night to a local hospital who had recently traveled internationally and showed symptoms similar to COVID-19.
According to a memo sent to all OCFA personnel, the firefighters were wearing some protective equipment while on the call but not all of it.
They then quarantined themselves inside the fire station as a precaution where they were all tested.
“Some of them have young children at home and felt more comfortable just isolating here at the station,” OCFA Spokesperson Colleen Windsor said. “I can tell you that they did not come into contact with anybody else. When they got back to the station they immediately self-isolated.”
The rest of the Engine Company 20 firefighters who were not on the call, including the battalion chief, were moved to another station. The engine and truck crews on duty were said to be returning to the station, OFCA annoucned.
As of Monday morning, the O.C. Health Care Agency had reported only one confirmed case of coronavirus in the county. That patient has fully recovered.
The O.C. Board of Supervisors approved an emergency program Monday morning which calls for more specific training for first responders and medical providers on how to handle coronavirus patients. It will make it easier for the county to call on additional resources from state and federal authorities if there is an outbreak, officials say.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person through close contact, usually within 6 feet, and mainly via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People are likely most contagious when they are most symptomatic.
An OCFA spokesperson reported that the four firefighters were not exhibiting any symptoms and were doing well.
It was unclear how long they would remain in isolation.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)