Highland Park firefighter/paramedics under quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19

Updated 3/17/2020 6:41 AM

On March 16, three Highland Park Fire Department personnel responded to an emergency call at a home in Highland Park where they cared for a patient who may have been exposed to COVID-19 due to recent international travel.

The paramedics sought medical guidance from Highland Park Hospital and immediately after returning to the fire station, they were quarantined. The paramedics did not respond to any public calls or interact with other personnel following their return to the station. They will remain quarantined pending results from the patient's COVID-19 test. The ambulance they were operating has been disinfected and undergone a deep anti-viral cleaning.


According to NorthShore University Health System, the Fire Department personnel have a very low risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Results are expected by Tuesday evening.

City Manager Ghida Neukirch stated, "The Fire Department has a staffing plan in place to ensure continuity of service delivery in the event that personnel are exposed to any symptomatic case of COVID-19 or otherwise require quarantine."

The city will share an update via its communications channels Tuesday evening.

Individuals can help support first responders by informing emergency dispatchers of any symptoms the patient or others on site may be experiencing, disclosing recent travel or contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Residents who suspect they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms such as high fever, cough, and shortness of breath, should contact their medical provider. For more information about COVID-19 and the city's response, please visit cityhpil.com/covid-19.

All questions regarding health and wellness related to COVID-19 should continue to be directed to the Illinois Department of Public Health's hotline at 800.889.3931 or dph.sick@illinois.gov. In an emergency, dial 911.

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