Augusta firefighter tests positive for COVID-19

Published: May. 6, 2020 at 4:19 PM EDT
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A firefighter and paramedic at the Augusta Fire Department has tested positive for COVID-19, fire department officials announced Wednesday.

The firefighter, who was the first one in the department to get the virus, was hospitalized and is now resting at home, officials said. The person works out of the North Augusta Fire Station, officials said.

Five other firefighter/paramedics have been placed on a 14-day quarantine. Three patients who came in limited contact with the firefighter have been notified, officials said.

Fire department officials said the case has not impacted the fire department's abilities to respond to emergencies.

Roger Audette, Augusta Fire Chief, said "We have the ability to respond from multiple fire stations, so if one crew gets impacted our services will not impact to serve the public."

The North Augusta Fire Station was closed and cleaned according to guidelines from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said.

Statement from the city:

"One Augusta Firefighter/Paramedic has tested positive for COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus disease. The Firefighter/Paramedic was hospitalized and is now resting comfortably at home. This is the first Augusta Firefighter/Paramedic to contract COVID-19. Five other Firefighter/Paramedics have been placed on 14-day quarantine.

Augusta Firefighters have been on the front lines of this crisis from day-1. We as a department recognize the seriousness of this development and are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the spread of this virus.

Since the Fire Department learned of the positive test results, the following steps have been taken:

 Notification to all Fire Department Employees.

 Augusta Fire Department and our Medical Director are working closely with Maine EMS and the Maine CDC.

 Contact investigations are in process and additional testing may be ordered. A total of three patients that had limited contact with the Firefighter/Paramedic have been identified and are being contacted by the Maine CDC.

 North Augusta Fire Station was immediately closed and cleaned by a private contractor per CDC Guidelines.

 All trucks and equipment that are cleaned daily have been cleaned again.

There has been no impact on our ability to respond to emergencies.

The public should not deter from calling 911 when needing assistance.

Firefighter/Paramedics at the North Station do not come into contact with any of the other crews at Hartford, Bangor and Western Ave fire stations. The fire department has intentionally spread out our crews to limit employee to employee contact.

Augusta Firefighters understand there is significant risk to their own health & safety as they work to serve the public during this unprecedented pandemic. The Fire Department will continue to provide support to our employees and their families as we move forward."