Three city firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19, although they remained without symptoms as of Tuesday morning and will hopefully return to duty soon, according to Fire Chief Stephen MacIntosh.
“They are all asymptomatic … not even a sniffle,” MacIntosh said. “They were surprised [at the test results]. They were shocked.”
MacIntosh said Cranston firefighters have been receiving COVID-19 tests as part of the Rhode Island Department of Health’s move to provide testing for all first responders, even those not displaying symptoms of the disease. Cranston personnel have been sent in waves for testing at the CCRI campus in Warwick since last week, he said.
When the three positive results came back over the weekend and Monday morning, the chief said, contact tracing work was conducted to identify other personnel with whom those firefighters had been in close contact. As a result, approximately 30 other firefighters are presently in self-quarantine pending test results. Those personnel also remained asymptomatic as of Tuesday morning, he said.
At this point, MacIntosh said, the situation has not affected the department’s ability to fully staff all shifts and stations.
“We are still on top of the staffing issues … We’re covering everything at this point,” he said.
MacIntosh said he, too, has been tested, and that he is self-quarantining while at the office out of an abundance of caution.
The chief said the department’s call volumes are currently “stable.” He also said fire and EMS personnel now have an “extra layer of protection” when responding to calls thanks to access to a state database of addresses with potential COVID-19 exposure. The department had already been asking screening questions of callers to identify potential COVID-19 concerns.
The city’s libraries are now offering curbside pickup of preordered materials.
Following Gov. Gina Raimondo’s recent lifting of the state’s stay-at-home order and the start of the first phase of Rhode Island’s reopening plan, the Cranston Public Library on Monday joined a number of other library systems in offering the pickup option.
“Using this service, patrons will be able to request up to five items at a time,” a statement from the library reads. “Contactless pickup will be available at all locations except the Arlington branch. Please note that the library will have limited staffing during this time and you may have to leave a message.”
In addition to the new materials pickup service, the city’s library will offer a remote printing service of up to 10 pages, free of charge, with contactless pickup.
“Cranston Public Library staff is busy getting the buildings ready to reopen to the public with limited hours and services in Phase 2,” the statement reads. “We will release more information at a later date.
More information about how to request materials or the printing service can be found at cranstonlibrary.org/phase-one.
The state’s presidential preference primary will be held June 2, and while voting in the delayed will be conducted largely by mail, two polling places will be open in Cranston.
According to a notice from the city, the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge at 2115 Broad St. and Western Hills Middle School at 400 Phenix Ave. will be the two locations available for in-person voting. The application deadline for mail-in ballots was on May 19.
Voters are advised to visit vote.ri.gov to check their voting status, determine their polling place or view a sample ballot. Questions may also be directed to the city’s Canvassing Department at 780-3128.
This year’s presidential primary in Rhode Island was pushed back from late April due to the pandemic.