Moorhead Fire confirms multiple positive cases of COVID-19 within the department
Chief Rich Duysen says this is causing a shortage in staffing
MOORHEAD, Minn. — One member of the Moorhead fire department began experiencing symptoms of coronavirus about a week ago.
Shortly after going in for testing, that person received a positive result of COVID-19.
“That caused us to follow CDC guidelines, start doing contact tracing, have some people isolated and then have them go in to test,” said Moorhead Fire Chief Rich Duysen. “We were surprised that there was additional positives from people that had no idea.”
The multiple confirmed cases within the department has caused a shortage in staffing.
Both those who had tested positive and any other member who had been in close contact with those workers are temporarily away from the job.
Chief Duysen says this won’t be a concern when it comes to protecting the Moorhead community because of the help from surrounding city departments.
“It is still not unsafe,” said Duysen. “We are leaning on Fargo Fire, Dilworth Fire, West Fargo. There are ten fire stations that are staffed twenty four hours a day in our metro area. We are getting help right away.”
Moorhead has two of those ten stations within the metro area, but thanks to preparations made at the start of COVID-19, only one has been affected.
When the pandemic first began, Moorhead separated fire department staff teams to make sure the spread amongst workers was limited.
“At normal times, we allow people to work on different shifts,” said Duysen. “We really minimized that and we really minimized station-to-station contact. That has helped keep enough people here to maintain our protection for the city until the others can come back.”
Chief Duysen said that none of the positively tested staff members have been hospitalized or have needed additional medical attention and he hopes to have them back on the job as soon as it is safe to so.