10 White River Township firefighters cleared to return to work following negative COVID-19 test


White River Township Fire Department

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind.– A group of White River Township firefighters can return to work after they self-quarantined due to what happened during a medical run over the weekend.

The medical run happened on Saturday, March 14. WRTFD Chief Jeremy Pell said the patient died at home after showing signs of respiratory distress and symptoms that could be similar to those common with COVID-19.

Pell said that while deaths from respiratory distress or the flu can be common, out of an abundance of caution, ten firefighters went into self-isolation at home or entered quarantine at the department’s former headquarters at State Road 37 and West Smith Valley Road, which has been vacant and used as a storage site since WRTFD moved into new facilities last fall.

Wednesday morning, Johnson County Joint Incident Management Team Public Information Officer Michael Pruitt said the Johnson County Health Department confirmed the test came back negative for COVID-19. The firefighters can now return to their duties.

Pell said the patient, a 60-year-old Johnson County man, had an underlying history of respiratory issues, had vomited and had recently returned from Mexico on Jan. 18.

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