Fresno police, fire rescue now required to wear masks

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Fresno county and city officials implemented new measures Friday to protect health care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fresno county is now recommending any health care professional who will be within six feet of a patient should wear a mask, whether the patient is showing symptoms or not.

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For police and fire fighters, the city of Fresno is taking new steps to keep them safe.

“Firefighters and police officers are the employees for the city that come in the most direct contact with our residents out there, and it’s almost impossible in certain situations for them to be able to practice social distancing,” said Mark Standriff, Director of Communications for the city of Fresno.

The city will be providing face masks to as many police officers and fire fighters as possible, and effectively immediately, they’ll be required to wear the masks while working.

“We’re going to have cloth masks that will be able to pass out, and then if they get in a situation where there’s some kind of a medical call or if they are concerned that they’re responding to a situation in which a person might be infected with COVID-19, then they can go to use the surgical N-95 masks,” said Standriff.

Fresno City Manager Wilma Quan says it’s especially important to protect police and fire fighters during the pandemic because it would take 3 to 12 months to find replacements.

“They’re in such specialized positions that require months and months of specialized training, that if they go down, if they get sick, we can’t just pull somebody in off the street to be able to go and fight a fire or to handle a police call,” said Standriff.

The city is also asking anyone making masks at home to consider donating some to city employees by dropping them off at City Hall or sending them by mail.

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