3 Firefighters In Portland Metro Area Test Positive For COVID-19

By Rebecca Ellis

At least three firefighters in the Portland metro area have tested positive for COVID-19, according to announcements made by their departments in the last week.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said Wednesday morning that a firefighter had tested positive. The first responder had started to feel sick while off duty and decided to self-isolate, according to a release sent out by the department. 

“They had not experienced any symptoms while working, and it is believed the risk of exposure to others was low,” the department stated. 

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Gresham’s firefighter union tweeted Tuesday that one of its firefighters was recovering at home after testing positive for the virus. 

And Portland Fire & Rescue saw its first confirmed COVID-19 case Friday, according to the bureau’s spokesperson, Rich Chatman.  

 Chatman said the bureau had determined through its “health and safety team” that it was unlikely the firefighter had exposed others. First responders who believe they may have tested positive can now have their test fast-tracked at a drive-through testing site at a recreation complex in Hillsboro. The site is managed by OHSU.

Fire departments across the region have taken steps in the last few weeks to shield first responders from the increased risk. First responders are increasingly entering calls in protective suits, and dispatch operators are asking callers with medical emergencies about out-of-state travel, known exposure to the virus and any symptoms they may have. 

As of Monday, Portland Fire & Rescue has also begun taking the temperature of all firefighters coming to work.