SALEM — Three Salem Fire Department employees are recovering after testing positive last week for COVID-19.

Officials would not elaborate on the cases; whether the employees were firefighters, superiors or support staff; or where they worked due to the medical nature of the situation, Mayor Kim Driscoll said. 

No one else from the department has since tested positive, officials said. 

"There have been three cases in the fire department, all of which have been handled in accordance with the protocols to quarantine those who are required to," Driscoll said. "Thankfully, all are recovering."

The department works out of several buildings across the city: the department's headquarters at the corner of Lafayette and New Derby streets, Station 2 on North Street, Station 4 on Essex Street by Highland Avenue and Station 5 on Loring Avenue by Salem State University. The department also has a Fire Prevention Bureau at the corner of Fort Avenue and Memorial Drive by Salem Harbor Footprint.

Driscoll said fire department buildings "were cleaned and sanitized, but did not have to close to do so."

The three tested positive within a few days of each other, prompting City Hall to partner with Fallon Ambulance to offer testing to all members of the department, health agent Dave Greenbaum said. It's not clear how many members of the department were tested; Greenbaum said the testing was not mandatory. 

Fallon has been an ongoing partner with the city's local COVID-19 response. The company also administers free testing at Salem High School and Old Town Hall downtown, paid for by the state's Stop the Spread campaign.

Salem fire Chief John "Gerry" Giunta said the global pandemic has largely left the fire department alone this year.

"We're susceptible to COVID-19 like anyone else," he said, "and our goal is to keep it to an absolute minimum with the proper use of personal protective equipment and following all the CDC guidelines."

That was echoed by Greenbaum, who dismissed claims of an outbreak in the department.

"Like anywhere, we're seeing cases in staff — but nothing that would be classified as an outbreak," Greenbaum. "There hasn't been any outbreak in any city department."

To respond to this story or suggest another, contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or DLuca@salemnews.com. Follow him at facebook.com/dustinluca or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.

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