The FDNY has 38 members under coronavirus quarantine, and will be changing up staffing protocol to reduce further spread of the bug, the agency said Friday.
“That’s a number that is very fluid. It has gone up, and it has gone down,” FDNY spokesperson Jim Long told the media, refusing to say how many of the employees were fire fighters or EMS workers.
Only one EMS worker has tested positive for the virus and he contracted it off-duty, the FDNY has previously said.
In an effort to maintain the department’s emergency response capabilities, they’ll be switching EMS workers from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts, while also eliminating partner rotation to reduce the virus’s spread.
“These modifications will increase social distancing where possible, limit member to member contact within our ranks, and will not impact our operational response, only the scheduling of our workforce,” the FDNY said in a statement.
They’ve also created a new emergency call designation for “fever/cough” so first responders can easily determine if a 911 call could be COVID-19 related, the agency said.
As of the end of January, the FDNY has sent ambulances to 350 of those calls and are also screening callers about where they’ve traveled in the past two weeks and whether they’ve been around anyone who traveled to affected countries, the agency said.
They added 911 calls overall are up 5-percent, from about 190,000 last year to 200,000 this year but that’s not necessarily related to COVID-19.
As of Friday, a total of 421 people have been infected statewide, according to the New York State Department of Health. At least 154 are in the five boroughs.