City of Highland Park Firefighter/Paramedics Exposed to COVID-19
Responding paramedics continue to be quarantined
March 18, 2020 -- Three City of Highland Park Fire Department personnel are confirmed to have been exposed to COVID-19, following the positive test of a patient they treated on March 16, 2020. The paramedics will remain in quarantine for the next fourteen days, per guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
On Monday, March 16, the paramedics treated a patient they later learned was at risk for COVID-19 exposure due to recent international travel. Following guidance from the Lake County Health Department, the paramedics were quarantined immediately, while awaiting the results of the patient’s COVID-19 test. The paramedics did not respond to any calls or have contact with others during their quarantine, and the ambulance that responded to the call was thoroughly disinfected and deep-cleaned.
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. When calling 911, community members are strongly urged to inform emergency dispatchers of any risks for COVID-19 exposure, including recent travel or contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Those symptoms include high fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
City Manager Ghida Neukirch underscored the City’s commitment to maintaining all emergency services in the event of current or future COVID-19 exposure. “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,” Neukirch said.
Residents who suspect they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms should contact their medical provider first. Questions about COVID-19 may be directed to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s hotline at 800.889.3931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about COVID-19 and the City’s response, please visit www.cityhpil.com/covid-19.