The first EMS worker in the city has tested positive for the coronavirus, the union said Monday.
The man got the potentially deadly bug from his girlfriend, an airline flight attendant who is now quarantined overseas, a source added.
“Today we received confirmation that a member of the FDNY Emergency Medical Services, assigned to the Borough of Brooklyn, has tested positive for the Coronavirus, also identified as COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case by one of New York City’s medical first responders,” said Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY EMS Local 2507.
“This was inevitable, given that our members are continually exposed to diseases and illness,” the union leader said.
Barzilay said the infected person and several of his EMS co-workers are under mandatory quarantine.
“We are confident that the FDNY, together with the Department of Health, will be diligent in tracking down people outside of the Department that have been in contact with this member,” he said.
Emergency-medical technicians respond to thousands of emergencies every day to aid people in need of medical attention.
“This news is highly illustrative of the exceptionally dangerous role that members of the FDNY Emergency Medical Service play each and every day. Despite the ongoing risks associated with this virus for our members, their families and their friends, we are all absolutely dedicated to protecting New Yorkers with the emergency medical services they need during these uncertain times,” Barzilay said.
Earlier Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed that Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has the coronavirus. As head of the PA, Cotton oversees the region’s three airports as well as the PATH train service between the two states.
The FDNY, in a statement, confirmed that the EMS technician who tested positive for COVID-19 did not contract it from a patient but from “an individual who recently traveled overseas.”
“While asymptomatic, this member worked three tours in the last week, partnered with five fellow EMS members, and treated eleven patients,” the department said.
“All of the patients are being notified by the Department and will be provided additional guidance from DOHMH. The five additional EMS members are all asymptomatic and are being directed to self-quarantine.”
The department said 19 FDNY employees in total are self-quarantined.