Columbus firefighter tests positive for COVID-19

A Columbus firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been in isolation until symptoms clear up.

The firefighter was off-duty when symptoms first appeared and began to self-quarantine while medical testing began. A week ago, the firefighter notified the Columbus Fire Department of the possibility of the illness and the test result came back positive on Monday, says Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the fire department.

The firefighter lives outside of Bartholomew County and has experienced only mild symptoms. No other firefighters have shown symptoms of the virus and the firefighter’s assigned station is undergoing additional cleaning to ensure the safety of other personnel and the public.

The firefighter is expected to return to duty once given medical clearance.

Fire Chief Andy Lay said that any firefighter who reports or shows signs or symptoms related to COVID 19, is being removed from service and asked to follow the current screening guidelines established by local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wilson said that since the start of the coronavirus epidemic in the area, firefighters have been regularly cleaning and sanitizing the stations, fire engines and equipment. All emergency equipment and apparatus are being cleaned and sanitized after each call for service.

All department personnel are required to assess their body temperature before reporting for duty. In the event that a high temperature reading is detected, that firefighter will be advised to receive further medical screening.

The department has also instituted a no visitors policy which includes family members of firefighters.

Wilson said the Columbus Fire Department is asking for the communitys support to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. He said it is imperative for all residents to practice social distancing, to limit unnecessary travel and interactions within the community.