Winnipeg fire station temporarily closed over fears of COVID-19 exposure

Click to play video: 'Manager of Winnipeg’s emergency operations centre on reports a city fire station closed over COVID-19 fears'
Manager of Winnipeg’s emergency operations centre on reports a city fire station closed over COVID-19 fears
Jay Shaw, manager of Winnipeg’s emergency operations centre, responds to media questions about reports a city fire station was closed Thursday over COVID-19 exposure fears – Mar 12, 2020

A fire station in Winnipeg was temporarily closed Thursday amid fears their crews have been exposed to COVID-19.

Hand-written notes taped to the front window of Fire Hall 21 in Transcona warn “do not enter until further notice” and “We are unable to answer the door at this time. We are not able to make any contact with persons outside of this building.”

The hall was reopened around 3 p.m. Thursday.

A sign on the door at Firehall 21 in Transcona. Brittany Greenslade/Global News

Sources tell Global News crews from the hall believe they may have come into contact with someone who may have been exposed to, or was quarantined because of COVID-19 Thursday morning.

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The closure came the same day health officials in Manitoba announced the province’s first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 was found in a woman from Winnipeg.

The woman in her 40s who recently travelled to the Philippines has been self-isolating at home since she returned a few days ago, said Health Minister Cameron Friesen.

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At a city press conference held shortly before noon, Jason Shaw from Winnipeg’s emergency operations centre said he couldn’t confirm any details other than to say that an incident had happened Thursday morning in the fire paramedic community.

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“We’re just starting to get all our facts,” said Shaw, adding they don’t want to jump to conclusions until they know the full details. “We will get you more information.”

Shaw assured Winnipeggers the city has a contingency plan should first responder units be quarantined.

“We have continuity plans to make sure we have the right amount of staff to respond to 911 calls.”

–With files from Brittany Greenslade

Click to play video: 'Jay Shaw from Winnipeg’s Emergency Measures Centre talks about COVID-19 response'
Jay Shaw from Winnipeg’s Emergency Measures Centre talks about COVID-19 response

Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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