3 more firefighters in San Bernardino County test positive for COVID-19; cases countywide top 500

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A San Bernardino County Fire Department engine is seen in a photo posted to the agency's Instagram page on Nov. 14, 2019.

A San Bernardino County Fire Department engine is seen in a photo posted to the agency’s Instagram page on Nov. 14, 2019.

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Another three firefighters in San Bernardino County have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, raising the confirmed cases among firefighters there to five, officials announced Monday.

The new cases were confirmed Saturday in firefighters assigned to the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District and Daggett Fire Department, according to a news release from the county’s All Hazard Regional Incident Management Team.

One of the previous two cases was also from the county Fire Protection District, while the other works in the Montclair Fire Department.

Public health officials are working to retrace the firefighters’ travels and interactions to determine potential exposure incidents.

The firefighters entered isolation when they started experiencing symptoms in response to a confirmed exposure, authorities said.

None of the five infected have been hospitalized and they’re expected to fully recover, officials said.

They’re among 530 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the county as of Monday afternoon. So far, 16 deaths have been reported countywide.

The site of the county’s largest known outbreak is a nursing home in Yucaipa, where more than 50 people have been infected and two have died.

Also among the county’s confirmed cases are at least four deputies assigned to county jail facilities, the Sheriff’s Department has said.

The agency did not name the facilities involved, and the source of their exposures remains under investigation. All four left work before receiving their test results, the department said.

In neighboring Riverside County, two sheriff’s deputies died from the disease last week. One of them is suspected to have been exposed while transporting a sick inmate, the other at his mother’s funeral, Sheriff Chad Bianco said.

San Bernardino County officials said Monday that local firefighters’ and paramedics’ exposure to the virus has remained low. They attribute that to ample access to personal protective equipment at local agencies, as well as citizens following social distancing rules when first responders arrive on scene.

There’s no expected disruption to fire and ambulance services services in the county, which remain fully staffed, officials said.

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