All active-duty paramedics and firefighters of the Chicago Fire Department are undergoing mandatory COVID-19 testing in an effort to stem the spread of disease in the department.
Department-wide testing began last week when a state-run testing center on the South Side at 210 W. 87th St, according to CFD spokesman Larry Langford.
Until then, first responders were traveling to the Northwest Side for testing in Harwood Heights at 6959 W. Forest Preserve Rd.
“On-duty crews are being sent to each site to catch those who are asymptomatic before they pass it to someone else,” Langford said. The testing has already identified cases in the department, according to Langford, who couldn’t specify how many.
So far, 221 members of the department have tested positive for the coronavirus, he said.
The Chicago Fire Department has lost two firefighters to COVID-19.
Edward Singleton, a 33-year veteran of the department, died April 14 from complications of COVID-19. The 55-year-old worked at the firehouse at Midway Airport, and leaves behind a wife and two adult children.
One week earlier, Mario Araujo became the first CFD firefighter to die from the coronavirus. Araujo, 47, joined the fire department in October 2003 and spent most of his career on Truck 25 in Rogers Park on the North Side.