Pittsburgh Public Safety continues to combat Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly across the county, commonwealth and country.
As of this morning, nine Pittsburgh Bureau of Police officers, nine Pittsburgh Firefighters and three members of Pittsburgh EMS are currently positive for the virus. Multiple others have been placed in quarantine out of an abundance of caution in order to stop the spread, including about 100 Police officers.
“The number fluctuates daily, but understand that those who are in quarantine are not positive. They are off as a precaution,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said Tuesday. “All but one of the (positive) employees are recuperating at home. One was hospitalized, but has been improving daily. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.”
Public Safety’s positive test rates remain significantly lower that what other major city First Responders are experiencing. The low infection rates have allowed Public Safety to proactively quarantine everyone who was possibly exposed, and to maintain normal staffing levels.
“When you call 911, rest assured you’re going to get the assistance you need,” Hissrich said. “We’re going a step above what is required. Our numbers have been so low that we can take these precautions. … We have to be cautious and we have to make sure our First Responders have the equipment and the training they need to respond to every call.”
Several preventative steps are in place across all Public Safety bureaus, and have been since March, including: Mandatory masks and social distancing, daily screenings upon entry to any Public Safety facility, and strict quarantine/isolation procedures.
EMS, Fire and Police officials meet daily via Teams Meetings with Director Hissrich and the City of Pittsburgh’s Medical Director, Dr. Ronald Roth, to discuss the pandemic. EMS has reactivated a second specialized EMS unit with enhanced decontamination capabilities and advanced PPE to respond to suspected Covid cases.
“We’re taking all the precautions we can,” Hissrich said. “We’ve learned a lot over the last few months (and) we’re taking this very seriously