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16 BC Wildfire Service firefighters returning from U.S. test positive for COVID-19

Sixteen B.C. firefighters tested positive for COVID-19 after returning in October from assisting with fires in California, the BC Wildfire Service confirmed Monday.

Forrest Tower, BC Wildfire Service communication and engagement specialist, told Black Press Media the 16 people who tested positive are all staying in a facility in Richmond, B.C. that is designated for COVID-19 quarantining.

“There are about 169 firefighters in total that are in Richmond quarantining right now who are following the recommendations of the public health authority,” he said Monday.

Most of the the group of 169 returned on Oct. 11 and were the last wave of resources B.C. had deployed to the U.S., Tower added.

Read more: Cariboo Fire Centre crew heading to Oregon to assist with firefighting efforts

“In total there were about 450 firefighters that went to the U.S. Just under 300 had already returned and done their quarantining and have now gone back home to their normal duties.”

Symptoms experienced by the firefighters who tested positive warranted them getting tested, but nothing that has required hospitalization, Tower noted.

Read more: B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors



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Monica Lamb-Yorski

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