Three Highland Park Fire Department personnel will be in quarantine for 14 days after coming into contact with a patient who later tested positive for coronavirus.
The City of Highland Park said that the three members responded on Monday to an emergency call at a home in Highland Park. They cared for a patient who has since tested positive for COVID-19 after recently traveling internationally.
The paramedics sought medical guidance from Highland Park Hospital and were immediately quarantined after returning to the fire station, City of Highland Park Communications Manager Amanda Civitello said.
The paramedics did not respond to any public calls or interact with other personnel following their return to the station, Civitello said. The ambulance they were operating has been disinfected and undergone a deep anti-viral cleaning.
The paramedics will remain in quarantine for the next 14 days, Civitello said in an update Wednesday.
“All emergency responders have access to protective equipment, and determine what equipment is necessary based on the nature of the call and the information provided to dispatchers,” Civitello said.
According to NorthShore University Health System, the fire department personnel had a very low risk of contracting the virus.
“Staffing plans for the Fire Department and the Police Department take into account the impacts of quarantine or other staffing reduction, and the City’s ability to provide emergency services will continue without interruption,” Highland Park City Manager Ghida Neukirch said.
Residents can help support first responders by informing emergency dispatchers of any symptoms the patient or others on site may be experiencing, disclosing recent travel or contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, Civitello said.
Those who suspect they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms such as high fever, cough, and shortness of breath, should contact their medical provider.
General questions regarding coronavirus can be answered by calling the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 800-889-3931 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.