4 Irvine firefighters quarantined after making contact with patient showing coronavirus-like symptoms


Orange County Fire Authority Spokeswoman Colleen Windsor told FOX 11's Hal Eisner that the patient who showed symptoms associated with the coronavirus actually tested negative in results that came back Monday evening. The four firefighters that were self-quarantined were released and sent home, according to Windsor.


Four Irvine firefighters with the Orange County Fire Authority were placed under quarantine at a local fire station after making contact with a patient who may have the COVID-19 coronavirus, it was announced Monday. 

Following the announcement, the Orange County Board of Supervisors Monday approved an emergency declaration and heightened training of healthcare providers and first responders as they brace for a potential influx of coronavirus patients.

Orange County Fire Authority said 20 firefighters at OFCA Fire Station 20 cared for a patient who recently traveled internationally and was taken to an area hospital. 

The patient, who was showing symptoms, is currently being tested for the COVID-19 virus and officials say they could have results by the end of the day. 

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Fire officials worked to clean the fire truck and the station as they await the test results for the four firefighters. 

All remaining firefighters assigned to OFCA Fire Station 20 were moved to another station, officials said.

The patient had traveled internationally and had symptoms similar to COVID-19. According to a memo from OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy dated Sunday, "Unfortunately, the responding crew used some of the recommended personal protective equipment, but not all."

The emergency declaration is "to ensure our county is prepared to deal with any possible infection or ... outbreak in our county,'' Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said at Monday's emergency meeting.

"The public may be a little confused about the level of alert they should have and how urgent this response should be, but we don't have the luxury of taking a chance," Do said. "We are responsible for the health of our residents, so what I'm asking for us to do as a county is to assess our readiness.''

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Do pointed out there have been "logistical challenges" elsewhere as well as "delays and maybe some mistakes that were made, so we don't want to be put in the same position."

The emergency declaration makes it easier for the county to call on additional resources from state and federal authorities if there is an outbreak, officials say.

"We just need to have the resources and protocol in place so we're not scrambling at the last minute to meet demands," Do said.

Authorities in Orange County recently declared a local health emergency over the coronavirus and Orange County supervisors were set to hold two meetings regarding the virus Monday. 

CNS contributed to this report.