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A Firefighter Shares Experience Battling Coronavirus

Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 1:00pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 10:04am
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The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) recorded another 3,500 new cases of COVID-19 on July 21, bringing the total to nearly 149,000. Arizona still has a 24% daily positivity rate, one of the highest in the nation.

The state also reported that 134 more Arizonans died due to the virus. AZDHS said 77 of those 134 deaths were as a result of residual death certificate matching, and that cases are typically higher on Tuesday after a lag in weekend reporting. Overall, more than 2,900 Arizonans have died because of the virus.

Firefighters, like many front-line workers, are seeing rising numbers of COVID-19 cases as they fight the pandemic on the front lines.

The Phoenix Fire Department recently reported high numbers of its members testing positive, and for rural fire districts, the numbers are growing as well.

John Flynn is he executive director of the Arizona Fire District Association, and he has been a resource to firefighters on the ground throughout the pandemic.

He said there are a lot of reasons why firefighters are testing positive, but, particularly for rural fire districts, it’s because they’re the ones riding in ambulances with COVID-positive patients to the hospital.

He and others are calling for what they see as their fair share of federal CARES Act funding to help keep firefighters in the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to keep their departments afloat.

To hear more about what it’s like for firefighters on the front lines, The Show spoke with Capt. Dean Mitchell about his own experience battling the virus, and how much the pandemic changed the way his department operates every day. 

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