Shortly after the first eight firefighters tested positive for the coronavirus, Long Beach Fire Department Chief Xavier Espino stayed out of his house for a couple of weeks to protect his family.
Many others on the front lines having taken similar measures as the nation grapples with a pandemic that has so many unknowns.
“Just about everybody knows somebody who has a vulnerability (to the virus),” Espino said during a live chat with the Long Beach Post on Tuesday.
In all, 16 firefighters tested positive for the virus, and all have since recovered. It’s been 21 days since any member of the department has contracted the illness, Espino said, as officials practice strict hygiene protocols both in the station and when responding to calls from the public.
Dispatchers for 911 are now screening patients for symptoms of the illness, and responding personnel take measures such as asking patients to come outside, if they are able.
Calls for service are down about 10% since the pandemic struck, Espino said, and transports to the hospital are about 30% down.
People are still asking for evaluation, he said, but no one wants to go to the hospital unless it is absolutely necessary.
Watch the full interview here:
Live Chat: Long Beach Fire Chief Xavier EspinoToday we are talking with Long Beach Fire Department Chief Xavier Espino. We'll talk about about the city's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, how emergency personnel are coping and more. Please let us know what questions you have in the comments below.Support our COVID-19 coverage with a tax-deductible donation: lbpo.st/covid-19
Posted by Long Beach Post on Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.