COVID-19 Infects Four CA Firefighters; Nearly 80 Quarantined

March 13, 2020
The San Jose Fire Department placed 77 firefighters under quarantine after four of the department's members tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Four California firefighters have tested positive for the coronavirus, leading the department to quarantine nearly 80 members in response.

San Jose officials confirmed the cases Thursday, KNTV-TV reports. Along with the four positive cases and the quarantining of 77 members, two other firefighters also are in isolation while they wait for test results, the city's fire union said in a statement.


Originally, city officials had only identified one firefighter as being infected with the virus earlier Thursday. That firefighter worked shifts at several San Jose stations before he was tested, according to KNTV.

The initial firefighter was diagnosed after flying home to Southern California. His condition is reported to be serious, and he is an intensive care unit, KNTV added.

Officials have not been able to identify the time or point of exposure of the first firefighter. It was not known who else might have been exposed to the virus after coming in contact with the firefighter.


Several family members of infected firefighters also have tested positive for the coronavirus or exhibited. The city has temporarily shut down stations possibly exposed to COVID-19, and they are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, according to KNTV.

"Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as it grows among our residents is an unprecedented challenge, and we are up to that challenge. But it is also taking a tremendous toll on us as we fall ill and support our ill family members," Sean Kaldor, president of San Jose's firefighters union, said in a statement.

Despite having so many firefighters sidelined stemming from the coronavirus, the San Jose Fire Department has tried to reassure residents that it still can serve the community.

"Our Dept. is large with over 700 active firefighters," the department said in an online statement. "We have been able to backfill to maintain operational readiness. We remain committed to our mission to protect the community through prevention & education."