8 Clayton firefighters test positive for COVID-19


CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — The town of Clayton confirmed eight of its firefighters are in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. The town has 42 firefighters, which means those infected account for almost 20% of the department.

The town said the fire department is still able to meet the staffing requirements and has mutual aid agreements with neighboring departments in place.

“That is horrible news. I just wonder how and what can be done to prevent the rest of them, because they can’t stop working. You need firefighters,” Erin Smith, a Clayton resident said.

The town told CBS 17 it will now test all of its firefighters. They explain the 8 that tested positive are from both of their fire stations. Those stations have since been deep cleaned.

“This is very alarming and concerning for me,” Councilman Avery Everett said.

Everett said he first learned of the situation Tuesday when five firefighters tested positive. By late Wednesday afternoon, additional testing showed another three were infected.

The town said its working with the Johnston County Health Department to do contact tracing.

“We have to stay six feet away from each other and I mean with these kinds of jobs, that’s just not feasible,” Everett said.

“I’m surprised it’s not more, they get exposed a lot more than you and I do,” Councilman Art Holder said.

Fortunately, the town said all eight of the infected firefighters are doing well and expected to be okay.

It’s unclear what led to the exposure or how it spread. They’re hopeful they have the situation under control.

Three other were tested Wednesday and the town said the results were negative.

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