West Palm Fire Chief Diana Matty says her first responders continue to respond to COVID-19 calls and some of them have tested positive for the virus.
Chief Matty says all of her fire fighters and paramedics are now equipped with the N-95 masks which officer top-of-the-line protection from the virus.
Chief Matty also says she can’t wait until the first responders are able to receive the vaccine which should help protect them from infection. She says they will be among the first groups to receive the coronavirus vaccine once the FDA gives emergency approval on December 10th.
In March, Chief Matty was concerned about a shortage of PPE’s, but now her department has plenty of masks.
In fact, at that time none of her paramedics or fire fighters had contracted or tested positive for COVID-19 despite responding to numerous calls. She says today that several of her rescue workers have contracted the coronavirus, but fortunately the symptoms from this second wave are not as severe as they were six months ago. Chief Matty says everyone wears a mask even when responding to a traffic accident and adheres to proper protocol.
In addition, she says there has been an increase in 911 calls asking for transport due to complications from the illness. She says people with comorbidities go downhill fast and need help quickly adding that in addition to calling an ambulance, you can present to the nearest emergency room if you are having breathing problems. But again, symptoms seem more mild.
Also, with 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended, Chief Matty reminds West Palm Beach residents to take down your hurricane shutters because they prevent fire fighters from gaining entry into your home should a fire break out.
Listen to the full interview here.
WPB Fire Chief Matty