BC Wildfire Service firefighters quarantined in Richmond after returning from U.S. with COVID-19

Sixteen BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) firefighters have been tested positive for COVID-19 and more than half are quarantining in Richmond.

Forrest Tower, communication and engagement specialist with the BCWS, confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the firefighters were tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to B.C. from the U.S.

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Three individuals, who were tested positive while in California, are currently at a federal quarantine facility under the care of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The other 13 firefighters are in quarantine at a Richmond hotel under the care of the BC Centre of Disease Control and local health authorities.

“At this time, the individuals are being monitored, but are not experiencing any complications or requiring hospitalizations,” said Tower.

“Upon return to B.C., all firefighters have quarantined for two weeks upon return from deployment as per protocols BCWS created at the beginning of the deployments in September.”

A total of 429 BCWS firefighters were deployed to the U.S. this summer, where 223 of them went to California.

Tower added that all “deployed resources” have returned to B.C. now with the last group having returned on Oct. 17.

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