FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro issued an internal video telling firefighters and EMS to report to work even if exposed to COVID-19 infected people — including patients — unless and until they suffer symptoms themselves, The Post has learned. "The bug is out of the box," said Dr. David Prezant, the FDNY's chief medical officer. The FDNY aren't the only first responders in the city frustrated by a lack of equipment in the face of the coronavirus.
The NYPD is still trying to supply cops with gloves and masks amid a jump in the coronavirus outbreak within the force, an internal memo obtained by The Post shows. The NYPD now has 73 confirmed cases, including three new cases from the First Precinct. That precinct now has four cases total; the three who are newly diagosed got their test results only recently, but had not been at work for over a week, sources told The Post. "We have been working to get you gloves, masks, and antiseptic equipment and supplies as quickly as possible — the tools you need to do your job safely and effectively," an email from NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea reads.
EMS workers are also livid about the lack of availability of the most effective masks, the N95 masks, which provides a higher level of protection. "They're asking us to use surgical masks which are not effective," an EMS source told The Post, adding, "We have 15 members [of EMS] that are positive. One in the hospital is in isolation. And that number will go up today … When all of this is over, we're going to have to find out who fell asleep at the wheel," the source said.
The Department of Corrections staff are now being screened for COVID-19 symptoms — fever, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat — before being allowed to enter facilities. But department brass is failing to provide masks for officers working among coronavirus-infected inmates on Rikers Island, according to a sergeant who ripped the agency this week in footage obtained by The Post. "You would think that this department would give the proper protective equipment to the officers here. Hand sanitizers, making sure that everyone has what they need. No. That's not the case," Sgt. Benny Boscio said outside the West facility on Rikers Island, where sick prisoners are being held.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona, Ben Cohn, Joe Marino and Dean Balsamini