There were more than 40 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus reported Wednesday in Long Beach. Eight of those were firefighters who recently worked at the same station.
The firefighters who tested positive for COVID-19 are all expected to recover.
"Our Long Beach firefighters are community heroes, and they have been on the frontlines every day of this health crisis," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "We are doing everything we can to provide support to these firefighters and their families. We recognize the seriousness of this latest development and are committed to doing all that we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Long Beach."
The firefighters are in self-isolation at home.
The origin of exposure remained under investigation, but fire officials said Wednesday that the initial investigation indicates they contracted the virus during their regular duties. Fire Station No. 11 is being sanitized, according to the city.
The new cases reported Wednesday bring the number of confirmed cases in Long Beach to 41.
"The treatment of these firefighters, along with all of our current positive cases, remains our highest priority," said City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis. "We are aware of the impact of these results on our community and understand the significant concerns this news brings. We are working diligently to identify potential situations where additional exposure may have occurred."
In a statement, the city said people should not be deterred from calling 911 in an emergency. Firefighters and police take extensive precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, and public safety dispatchers run through a list of COVID-19-specific screening questions for all service calls that require in-person contact.
"As we wage this war on COVID-19 in our community, we do it with the understanding that there is significant risk to our personnel as we respond to the needs of those we serve," Fire Chief Xavier Espino said. "The health of our public safety personnel is being monitored daily and we will continue to provide the necessary support to our employees and their families as we move forward."
There were 799 confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County as of Thursday morning.