Miami Firefighter Hospitalized, Tested for Coronavirus

March 12, 2020
Miami Fire-Rescue officials said the firefighter had become sick after recently returning to work following a personal trip to California, which has more than 160 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Editor's note: Find's complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.

Miami firefighter hospitalized and tested for coronavirus after trip to California

A Miami firefighter who recently traveled to California was taken to the hospital to be tested for the novel coronavirus after falling ill.

On Wednesday afternoon, Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban informed commissioners about the transport.


“Today, a member of the City of Miami Department of Fire-Rescue returned to work following personal travel within the U.S.,” Zahralban wrote in an email. “The individual felt unwell and, in an abundance of caution, was transported to a local hospital in accordance with our EMS protocols. Fire-Rescue services throughout the City of Miami continue as normal.”

It is not known yet whether the firefighter has the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. The city did not address if any other personnel might be affected. A source with knowledge of the matter confirmed the firefighter who was hospitalized had recently traveled to California on a personal trip.

California has reported more than 160 confirmed cases among more than 1,100 coronavirus infections across the United States. The Sacramento Bee reported that four people in California have died from COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon.


The Miami fire facility — it was not clear which one — was cleared of staff and is being disinfected, according to the source.

Public health officials have not confirmed a single case of COVID-19 in Miami-Dade County, but more cases are being confirmed throughout Florida and the nation every day. According to the Florida Department of Health, 21 Florida residents have tested positive for the virus, and two more people from other states have been diagnosed here. Two of these people have died. Four of the confirmed cases are in Broward County, and most of the rest are in the northern and western parts of the state.

Reflecting the increasing alarm over the spread of the virus, the World Health Organization declared the problem a pandemic on Wednesday.


©2020 Miami Herald

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