By Matt Petrillo


CLAYMONT, Del. (CBS) — A fire company in Delaware has a strong message to the public: disclose if you are positive with the coronavirus when calling 911. It may seem obvious, but at least two patients never made EMS aware last week.

At least one member in the Claymont Fire Company has now tested positive for COVID-19. In all, a dozen in the fire company are quarantined for the next two weeks.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Claymont Fire Company President Thomas DiCristofaro said.

DiCristofaro says his crews are taught to wear safety glasses and gloves to all ambulance calls and when dealing with COVID-19 patients, crews have to suit up even more.

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“You get booties on your feet, a disposal gown, a face shield and now, they’re telling us to wear a scalp covering,” DiCristofaro said.

But DiCristofaro says 12 of his members — nearly a third of his staff — are at home in quarantine. It’s because two patients, or their families, called 911 last week and only revealed the patients were sick.

EMS was never made aware the patients were COVID-19 positive, even though DiCristofaro says the families knew that was the case.

“There’s no reason not to tell us you tested positive,” DiCristofaro said. “It’s not an embarrassment.”

Now, the fire company is begging people to listen up for the safety of first responders.

“If you know — I strongly stress this — if you know the patient we’re coming to see is positive, you should be telling the 911 call taker that information off jump street,” DiCristofaro said.

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On top of the 12 first responders in the Claymont Fire Department at home for the next two weeks, officials say four New Castle County police officers are also now in quarantine because of those two incidents.

Delaware officials announced 80 additional COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the state total climbed to 673.

President Donald Trump also approved a major disaster declaration for Delaware on Sunday.