CORAL SPRINGS, FL – None of City of Coral Springs’ 359 first-responders taking part in a coronavirus test are infected with the virus, and residents shouldn’t fear calling for help because they are worried about contracting the virus from police officers, firefighters, and paramedics, city officials said Wednesday.

The city government said Wednesday that nearly 700 of its employees are free of the COVID-19 virus – including 359 first-responders.

All the employees were voluntarily tested for COVID-19 antibodies over the past week and none of them tested positive.

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The testing, city officials explained, is part of a partnership with the State of Florida Department of Health, which is doing a comprehensive, multi-city study evaluating the use of antibody testing in asymptomatic employees. Coral Springs obtained the rapid test kits from the state and has tested its employees during the first phase of the study.  The study will evaluate the antibody status of employees every six weeks for a total of three episodes.   
 
“Like the virus itself, this type of mass testing for employees is unprecedented,” said City Manager Frank Babinec in a news release. “Ensuring our workforce is free from the virus is great for the community we serve, and for our own health and peace of mind.”

Officials stressed the importance of residents having confidence in calling first-responders for emergencies and other assistance, and not fearing in getting COVID-19 from them.

“It’s been widely reported that the global pandemic has caused the public to avoid seeking assistance from public safety and health officials due to fear of contracting COVID-19,” the news release said. “We recognize how imperative it is for our residents to feel safe when interacting with our staff – especially our public safety personnel.”

Officials noted that five of the city employees tested were IGG positive, meaning they may have had COVID-19 and developed antibodies, which could possibly protect them in the future.

Three employees were IGM positive, indicating they may have been infected and their immune system was starting to respond to the virus, officials said.

All eight received PCR testing (throat swab), which confirmed them to be free of the COVID-19 virus. 

 

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