A fire officer has tested positive for covid19 and 11 officers are in self-quarantine, the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) confirmed on Saturday.
The positive officer is being treated at Caura Hospital, CFO Marlon Smith told Sunday Newsday. The officer is assigned to Fire Services headquarters on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
Smith said there is no indication of where the fire officer contracted the coronavirus.
This latest case comes after two police officers and a prisons officer tested positive last week.
Smith said the officer reported for duty on Tuesday and complained of feeling unwell. He was sent home along with the rest of the staff who were advised to take the rest of the week off. The headquarters was sanitised the following day.
On Friday, the results came back positive and the staff who were at work was advised to self quarantine for the next 10 days. Additionally, the service is now operating on a rostered system to minimise the number of officers at the headquarters at one time.
On claims the service attempted to hide the case, Smith denied this.
“There is no cover up. The information was sent to all divisional heads when we learnt of it. Not only was the section that the officer working sanitised but the entire building.”
Fire Services Association president Leo Ramkissoon on Saturday said he advised all fire officers to now operate as though every officer was positive and to follow public health protocols, including physical distancing.
He said fire officers should do what they can to minimise the spread even when en route to an emergency.
“ Even when they are on a rig responding to a call they should wear a mask and do what is required to minimise the spread of the virus. I repeat each officer should act like everyone around them is positive. That is imperative.”
Ramkissoon said he advised Smith on Saturday to inform the public and the fire service about the positive case, including the department where the officer worked so that all affected can be properly informed.
He said the association and the administration were working with the National Security Ministry to curtail any possible spread.