(MANHATTAN, KAN. October 23, 2020) The Manhattan Fire Department was notified today that five firefighters tested positive for COVID-19. The firefighters that tested positive attended an event off-duty and are believed to have contracted the virus at the event.
“We have worked on contingency plans for a potential outbreak situation since the beginning of the pandemic to ensure uninterrupted fire service for Manhattan,” Fire Chief Scott French said. “We will continue to provide reliable fire and emergency services to our residents as we always have.
Extensive contact tracing is being done to determine if other firefighters may have been exposed to asymptomatic coworkers.
The Manhattan Fire Department immediately started an investigation to determine the level of contact with other emergency personnel and the public during the course of their duties. Employees who had close contact with a positive case will be tested and will follow CDC guidance for return to work.
The Riley County Health Department is also conducting contact tracing to determine contacts with the public and will notify anyone who was a close contact. For privacy purposes, no personal information will be released about the firefighters.
“We are hopeful for a quick recovery for everyone affected by this virus, including our firefighters,” French said. “Unfortunately, this shows how quickly the virus can spread in certain situations and that no agency is immune from the impacts.”
The Manhattan Fire Department will not routinely send news releases for future positive COVID-19 cases among employees. Instead, the number of active, recovered, and positive cases will be reported each Monday morning as part of the normally released Daily Response Form.
Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/manhattanfiredepartment) and Twitter (@ManhattanFD)