Eight Langley Township firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 20 may have been exposed to the virus.
On Sunday, Nov. 15, in response to a query from Black Press Media, the Township issued a written statement that, during the week of Nov. 9, “eight personnel have been confirmed with COVID-19, and currently 20 others have been advised to either self-isolate or they are awaiting test results.”
“Information available at this time indicates that these may not be all workplace-related transmissions,” the Township added.
While the infections will affect staffing levels, they are not expected to affect response times or the effectiveness of the fire department, Township fire chief Stephen Gamble said.
“I want to assure community members that while public health and the Township work to care for our afflicted personnel, the Township Fire Department can and will continue to provide services,” said Gamble.
Preventative procedures at fire halls have been tightened “to align with the guidance established in the region-specific public health order that was announced on Nov. 7th” the statement said.
No more details were provided “to protect the privacy of those involved,” with the Township explaining it was an employee health-related matter.
According to an online Township profile, the department currently consists of 81 full-time suppression firefighters at seven fire halls, plus 100 paid-call firefighters as well as 16 prevention, training, management and support staff.
In March, eight TOL firefighters were exposed to COVID-19, after responding to a medical call in Murrayville to help a man who later tested positive for COVID-19.
They were immediately directed to self-isolate upon hearing the man’s diagnosis.
Two were immediately cleared to return to work, while the other came back after self-isolating.
None were tested.