4 JFRD members at conference connected to COVID-19 patient have been cleared

Personnel will return to work Friday, chief says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Four members of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department who attended a recent Emergency Medical Service conference in Tampa linked to one coronavirus patient have been cleared to return to duty, Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday.

A 70-year-old Broward County man who attended the conference later tested positive for COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health said.

The four administrative JFRD members who attended the Tampa conference returned home seven days ago and had been in the office since, JFRD Chief Keith Powers said.

He said after he got a call Thursday morning about the connection between the conference and a coronavirus patient in Florida, the four members were self-quarantined.

Powers said the four never showed symptoms and weren’t tested because they didn’t meet the criteria. But the state Department of Health analyzed who needed to be isolated after the conference and let the department know about 12:30 p.m. Thursday that the four personnel did not need to be isolated any longer.

Powers said they will return to work Friday.

“We were operating out of an abundance of caution, self-isolating like we needed to -- the same thing we need the public to do,” Powers said. “Now that it’s been cleared, they’re allowed to come back to work.”

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The Broward County patient was one of six new Florida cases announced overnight. Three of the cases in Florida are not Florida residents, including one man in St. Johns County who came to the state from New York to attend Bike Week in Daytona Beach.

He is currently in isolation at Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine. The hospital said those who came in contact with the patient have identified and notified.

“We are working very closely with the local and state departments of health as well as the CDC to assure that we take all appropriate precautions. Flagler Health has been proactively preparing for COVID-19 for many weeks and we are confident in our ability to effectively care for all our patients while maintaining a safe environment,” the hospital posted on its Facebook page.

The patient in St. Johns County never arrived in Volusia and did not attend any Bike Week events.

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