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California

Firefighter tests positive for coronavirus, dozens on leave in hard-hit Santa Clara County

Virus Outbreak-California
Santa Clara County Public Health Department Director Dr. Sara Cody, shown at a news conference on Feb. 28. County health officials on Thursday confirmed a second case of unknown origin of the novel coronavirus.
(Anda Chu / Bay Area News Group)

A San Jose firefighter has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting precautionary actions by the fire department.

“We don’t know how the firefighter contracted the illness, however, he is in a hospital in another city where he resides, being treated by medical professionals,” the San Jose Fire Department said in a statement. “Employees who have been identified as at risk for exposure are on leave.” Several zone fire officials were on leave.

Santa Clara County has been been particularly hard hit by the virus, with 48 confirmed cases and possibly many more as the virus spreads through the region.

The Transportation Security Administration confirmed Tuesday that three of its officers who work at Mineta San Jose International Airport tested positive for coronavirus.

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Santa Clara County health officials on Thursday urged people of high risk to consider avoiding travel.

“As many public health officials have noted, airports present an elevated risk of exposure to #COVID19 given the number of people passing through from different locations. The risk is likely greater for airport workers, who spend long periods of time in that environment,” the health agency said on Twitter. “While we are not currently recommending closure of the airport given the societal harms lack of access to travel would cause, we continue to recommend that persons at higher risk of severe illness from #COVID19 avoid air travel & that businesses cancel non-essential travel.”

San Jose officials said the positive case is not affecting operations.

“We have been able to backfill to maintain operational readiness. We remain committed to our mission to protect the community through prevention & education,” the department tweeted.

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The Los Angeles Police Department, along with other law enforcement agencies, is already using new guidelines and procedures to help prevent its officers from getting sick.

The department has already ordered 100,000 face masks, but the officers will not wear masks as a routine matter.


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