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16 BC Wildfire firefighters test positive for COVID-19 after being deployed to California

The BC Wildfire Service has confirmed that there are currently multiple firefighters who have tested positive for COVID-19 after being deployed to northern California.

<who>Photo credit: US Forest Service

Forrest Tower, a spokesperson for the BCWS, said that 16 out of 223 members that were deployed to assist with firefighting efforts have the virus.

Three people tested positive while in California, and thirteen more positive cases have emerged since the group returned to BC.

The thirteen individuals were in quarantine upon returning home, and ended up developing symptoms.

The BC Wildfire Service sent 429 firefighters in total to both Oregon and northern California over the course of the last few months.

All BCWS crews are back in BC now as of October 17, with the last returning crews still carrying out their quarantine still.

“It has been BCWS policy that all returning crews carry out a 14 day quarantine, regardless of symptoms,” explained Tower. “The 16 current cases have been the only positive COVID cases during the US deployments.”

Tower added that all of the COVID positive individuals are in quarantine and are being monitored by local health authorities.

The BCWS is also working with the BCCDC and health authorities to carry out contact tracing.

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