KENT, Ohio — A Kent firefighter has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a news release sent out by Kent Police Lieutenant Michael Lewis.
"Our thoughts go out to the firefighter and his family, and we wish him a speedy and complete recovery. He has advised us that he and his family are doing fine,” Lewis wrote. “This is an all too real reminder of how important it is to be vigilant in following the guidelines to limit exposure and contain this virus.”
"We recognize the concern that as a firefighter/paramedic, this employee may have had significant interaction with people within the community. Fortunately, the employee took appropriate action after developing symptoms and has been off work since March 8th. Kent paramedics began wearing protective masks even earlier than that, and those actions have even further reduced the risk of exposure to patients. Despite that, we immediately began researching all of the calls and medical runs this employee had been on in order to identify any citizens at risk. We will continue to investigate this.
Our Unified Command in response to COVID-19 has been planning for these developments. We have been preparing for cases in Portage County and among Kent employees not as a matter of “if” but “when.” We are cognizant of the risk to other firefighters this employee had contact with, and we are addressing those employees and those potential cases. We have temporarily closed the west side fire station for cleaning, and those other employees potentially exposed are being isolated. We still have plenty of staff to handle calls for service out of Kent Fire Station 1. We have planned for reduced staffing without reduced service."
Authorities said that the city of Kent has put precautionary measures in place to help slow the spread of the virus.
Those measures are:
- Restricting personal interaction
- Increasing cleaning and sanitation practices
- Employees have temperatures taken at least twice a shift and numerous other measures.
“We will continue to make the health and safety of our residents and our employees our number one priority,” Lewis wrote.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.