Last week, 20 EG firefighters were sidelined after positive COVID-19 tests but Tuesday brought some better news: 5 of those who had originally tested positive have since had 2 negative virus tests, allowing them to return to work Tuesday night.
“This is terrific news allowing the department to revert back to four shifts at Station 1 and providing for much needed support for the reduced numbers,” said Town Manager Andrew Nota. By reduced numbers, Nota was referring to the 9 firefighters left standing after the rash of positive COVID tests last week.
North Kingstown has been covering Station 2 and will continue until more EG firefighters return to work. Station 1 has been covered 24-7 for the past week by those 9 firefighters.
Chief Bernie Patenaude said EGFD isn’t the only department with COVID cases. “It’s spiking a little bit everywhere but our percentage was so high. I haven’t heard about anyone else in dire straits yet.
Several of those who are still out have symptoms but some do not. Some retests have not yet come back.
Patenaude said people have been wonderful about dropping off food. “It’s greatly appreciated,” he said. As for what else we could be doing, he said, “Stay safe.”
Is the question how do 20 Firefighters all contract covid, was it a lack of safety precautions, was it poor policies, something is odd that this many personnel can contract the pandemic. Just seems to me like something is out of place and needs to be figured out moving forward.
I’m disappointed that Mr. Nota is now claiming they were originally false positives, leaving those members without I.O.D status. The members of the fire dept are working tirelessly at keeping East Greenwich safe and this is how the Town Manager shows his appreciation. Classy move Mr. Nota. Hope EG News can follow up on the grievance against Mr. Nota because I have a feeling it won’t end the way he desires.