36 Durham firefighters out because of COVID-19 quarantine, union says; city now says 21 in quarantine

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A union that represents Durham firefighters said that three dozen city firefighters are currently quarantined because of COVID-19.

The quarantine is affecting five different fire stations over three shifts, according to Local 668 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

City of Durham officials said Monday that they do not release information about COVID-19 cases by department.

However, Tuesday, fire officials said that 21 people in “operations” were currently out on quarantine.

Chris Iannuzzi, a Durham spokesman, said that reported of 16 firefighters from a shift at one station out on quarantine are incorrect.

The union said that 35 firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Durham officials said Tuesday that 30 people have tested positive for the disease since March 2020.

Iannuzzi said that fire calls have not been impacted by any staffing changes because of COVID-19.

“Response time has not been affected by the number of members who have tested positive or been quarantined,” Iannuzzi wrote in a statement to CBS 17.

He added that the department has taken steps to cut down on the number of COVID-19 cases.

“To keep our members safe, we have instituted a number of general orders that cover use of PPE, three times per day wellness checks, multiple times per day station cleaning, no visitors are allowed at fire stations including family and off-duty firefighters, limits on the number of people in a station, eating in shifts, social distancing, and mask use,” Iannuzzi said.

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