12 first responders quarantined in Washington showing flu-like symptoms


A sign at the entrance of the Life Care Center is shown in Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Dozens of people associated with the facility are reportedly ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized and are being tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

KIRKLAND, Wash. (KCPQ) – Twelve of the 29 first responders who are quarantined after responding to calls at LifeCenter in Kirkland, Washington are showing flu-like symptoms, according to the city.

The city says 26 firefighters and three police officers are in quarantine because they responded to calls at the nursing home, where a COVID-19 outbreak has occurred. Most of the nine coronavirus deaths in Washington state have been linked to the Kirkland longterm care facility.

Of the 29 who are quarantined, 19 have had direct exposure to a coronavirus patient and are in isolation or quarantine at home.  The city has also identified Fire Station 21 as an additional building for isolation.

The Kirkland Fire and Police Departments remain fully staffed and are responding to calls as normal.  City first responders have CDC-recommended personal protection equipment and are following recommended protocols.

“Our number one priority is ensuring the safety of our community and first responders,” said Chief Joe Sanford. “I’m so proud of our first responders who have stepped up to make sure that our community is still receiving the highest level of service.”

The city has received requests from residents wondering how they can assist in the response.  The most important thing people can do right now is heed public health – Seattle & King County’s recommendations and take specific actions to reduce the risk individuals and families, including:

-More hand washing; less face touching. Regular handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water will decrease risk that the virus is transmitted.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
-Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
-Avoid contact with people who are sick.
-Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
-Be prepared at home:
-Have a plan to care for family members should they get sick or schools/offices be closed.
-Know workplace telecommute options and school/daycare policies.
-Stock up on food supplies and prescription medications now to avoid leaving home if you or someone in your household becomes infected.

The city also encourages community members to follow the recommendations provided by the Public Health – Seattle & King County, including:

-Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first. Please only call 911 if you’re experiencing an emergency.
-Stay home when sick.
-Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
-Stay informed. Information is changing frequently. Check and subscribe to Public Health’s website or Public Health Insider blog.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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