CLAREMONT - Three Claremont firefighters who were placed on quarantine for precautionary reasons have shown no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 at the end of their self-quarantine, according to Claremont Fire Chief Bryan Burr.

Burr told the Eagle Times that three Claremont firefighters went into self-quarantine on Tuesday, March 17, immediately upon learning that a Merrimack County man they had contact with on Friday, March 7, tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19 this past Tuesday at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont.

“As soon as we were notified, we pulled those guys off duty as a precaution,” Burr told the Eagle Times on Saturday.

Barring a sudden change in health status, the firefighters are expected to come off quarantine at the end of the day, Saturday, March 21. The 14-day quarantine period is based on an individual’s date of exposure, as COVID-19 has a two-week incubation period, one week longer than influenza.

As of Saturday, the three firefighters are still “doing well, with no signs or symptoms” of the virus, and at this time could be able to resume duty tomorrow, Burr said.

The exposure occurred prior to the escalation of cases in New Hampshire that prompted Gov. Chris Sununu to declare a state of emergency on March 13.

Since Sunun’s declaration, the Claremont Fire Department has been operating under new safety protocol to prevent the risk of firefighters being exposed to the virus when in the public. Under the new policy, only one in a medical response will provide triage to a person, and the other firefighters will remain by the vehicle. Additionally, new screening questions have been added to the medical questions that firefights ask the person, to determine whether the respondee could be potentially infected by COVID-19.

Burr, who is also Claremont’s emergency management director for the city’s COVID-19 response plan, said that the department’s policies “have changed dramatically” since the first week of March.

Additionally, the policies, both locally and nationwide, are constantly changing with the progression of the epidemic. City residents are advised to check frequently for updates from the city, either on its website, www.claremontnh.com or the city’s facebook page, “City of Claremont, NH Government.”

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