IPSWICH — Town Manager Anthony Marino and Fire Chief Andy Theriault report that a member of the Ipswich Fire Department has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, leading to additional testing for two of the Fire Department’s shifts who were in close proximity to the employee.
The Ipswich Fire Department remains staffed and fully operational, and it will continue to respond to all emergencies. Fire department members are taking proper precautions when coming in contact with residents and community members.
With the positive test result in hand from the one employee, the two Ipswich Fire Department shifts that were in contact with this employee have been asked to self quarantine. The members will be tested today at the first responder COVID-19 testing site at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The group will have their test results within 24 hours, and until then, the Ipswich Fire Department is being fully staffed by other shifts.
“While this is a challenging situation, our department remains fully operational and we want residents to know that this will in no way effect our department’s ability to continue responding to calls,” Chief Theriault said.
The employee is recovering at home and is being supported and monitored according to public health guidelines. The department will take the proper actions when the other test results are received. Under State and Federal privacy laws no further information is available about the individuals.
Close contacts to the employee (defined as someone who has spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of a positive case) have been identified, contacted by health officials, and are adhering to DPH orders for quarantine.
The quarantined close contacts will be monitored on a weekly basis by local health officials while they are in quarantine to limit the risk of spread.
All Ipswich fire department facilities were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected last night.
“This is an evolving situation, and the health and well-being of our staff and of the public is of the utmost importance to us all,” Town Manager Marino said. “I’d like to thank our residents for their patience and understanding, and we will provide updated information as soon as possible about this situation. Until then, we’re urging residents to adhere to the state’s stay at home advisory, continue washing your hands and covering your cough, and, if you have any questions, call 211.”
The state has set up the phone number 211 to answer questions that residents may have concerning COVID-19.
In an effort to continue practicing social distancing, all citizens are asked to make all non-emergency reports and inquiries to the Ipswich Fire Department by telephone or email, rather than in person.
The Ipswich Fire Department can be reached at 978-356-4321 or on the Town’s website at https://www.ipswichma.gov/177/Fire.
As always, please call 911 for any emergency.
Safety Measures & Precautions
The Ipswich Fire Department has taken the following actions to practice social distancing and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19:
- Practicing social distancing while at work and at home.
- Increasing the cleaning and sanitation of common touch points and surfaces.
- Encouraging proper self-care and hygiene including frequently washing hands, ensuring bathrooms are stocked with hand washing materials and making cleaning products and sanitizers available.
- Ensuring all personnel are properly trained on how to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Reviewing Contagious Diseases and Pandemic Planning and Response policies.
- Reviewing the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Modifying medical response protocol.
- Ensuring the department has ample supplies of PPE for medical responses.
These temporary measures will be reviewed on a continuous basis. The Town of Ipswich will continue to update the public regularly on this situation as more information becomes available.