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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Saturday that a member of the FDNY who works out of a firehouse in Brooklyn has tested positive for COVID-19.
The firefighter worked from Sunday through Tuesday and did not respond to any medical runs or treat any patients while on duty.
De Blasio said the firefighter went home Tuesday with symptoms and tested positive late Friday.
"This firefighter was not exposed to COVID-19 through patient contact, but contracted the illness off-duty through community exposure," the FDNY said in a statement.
The firefighter is now self-quarantined at home.
As a matter of a precaution 33 additional firefighters who had close contact with the infected member will be quarantined immediately.
Members who were not in direct contact with the firefighter will take over the operations of the firehouse, which is now being decontaminated. It is expected to be fully operational by 6 p.m.
Other fire resources in the immediate area will cover any needs in the meantime.
The firefighter is the second FDNY member to test positive for the virus. The first was an EMT who was believed to have contracted the illness from someone who recently traveled abroad, the Daily News reported.
Currently, 99 FDNY members are self-quarantined.
Gerard Fitzgerald, President of the FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association, is now calling for expedited testing for all New York City Firefighters and Fire Officers exhibiting symptoms.
“The health, safety, protection, and wellbeing of our Firefighters is our paramount concern. We will not allow our members to be put at risk,” said Fitzgerald.
The news came as the city reported its first death from coronavirus — an 82-year-old Brooklyn resident who was hospitalized with emphysema.
"This is a moment we all knew would come, that doesn't make it any easier," de Blasio said.
The calls continue for the mayor to shut down the schools, but he has no plans to do so.
"Hundreds of thousands of teenagers without adult supervision, I think that's not just about health, it is, it's about all the other impact that has on their life, it is about the impact on safety. We just have to look at the big picture, so we're going to be doing that constantly."
Asked about other big cities like Los Angeles closing schools the mayor said, "We don't model off anyone else."
New York City residents can receive important updates about the coronavirus by texting the word COVID to 692-692.
The city hopes to launch a Spanish language alert system soon.