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Urgent Email Alert: PFFA COVID-19 Coronavirus Update for March 25

Wednesday, March 25, 2020  
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URGENT EMAIL ALERT: PFFA COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE FOR

MARCH 25, 2020

Brothers and Sisters:

Obviously, there are many questions surrounding the national outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact here in the state of Arizona. Below you will find some critical points we wanted to make available to you right away.

Our members being quarantined or becoming ill- All Local Presidents/Leaders, please let the PFFA know if you have members in quarantine or who have become ill with COVID-19-related illnesses. We are being asked by media and government sources about our people on a daily basis. We know you’re swamped, but please keep us up to speed on what is happening in your departments.

PPE and supplies - The last shipment from the national stockpile arrived this weekend. PPE/equipment was disseminated to the Counties on Monday, March 23, 2020. If your agency needs access to PPE/supplies, they should contact the executive staff of their respective County Health Departments. If any agency has difficulties getting necessary supplies from their County Health Departments, WE STRONGLY URGE YOU TO PLEASE LET US KNOW. We are working with AFDA and AFCA and communicating directly with the Governor’s office. We need to know if our folks are having problems getting PPE/supplies.

Other notable efforts:       

  • The Governor’s office is working with some non-profits to donate N-95 masks. Those masks are expected to be delivered within the next 10 days. This is known as the B-Strong initiative. We will find out soon how these will be distributed.
  • Intel Corporation plans to donate 1 million pieces of PPE. We will have more details of how and when these will be disseminated in the next few days.
  • The Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund was established this week with a $1 million founding contribution from the Arizona Cardinals. The purpose of the fund is to provide financial support to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in the state. The initial focus of the fund is to fund PPEs for frontlines medical personnel; to support non-profit organizations like food banks and  homeless shelters; and to expand technology access for low-income students to help them transition to online learning. We are working on getting more information about this fund and how it can benefit our members.

Workers’ comp coverage for COVID-19 Exposures – Right now, the PFFA remains embroiled in a herculean effort to improve all worker’s comp coverage for our members. As you know, we’ve been laser-focused on cancer presumption. However, we're also working to ensure coverage for anyone impacted by COVID-19. Currently, the only coverage available to our members in our Fire Districts comes from a private provider known as 7710. We have been very displeased with the behavior and decisions of this company. There will be much more to come on this later, but this is some recent media on what we are dealing with to try to ensure our people are covered if they contract COVID-19 on the job:

https://www.azfamily.com/news/continuing_coverage/coronavirus_coverage/insurance-copany-backtracks-after-saying-it-won-t-cover-job/article_d03f4eb4-6d7a-11ea-b04c-db014dcd1304.html

Hospitals refusing to share the infection status of our patients – It has come to our attention that multiple hospitals have refused to share the COVID-19 testing status of patients with the agencies who cared for them. The PFFA feels strongly that the Hospitals are required to provide this information under federal law.  Specifically we feel that COVID-19 exposure is covered under the Ryan White Act, which mandates that EMS personnel can find out whether they were exposed to life-threatening diseases while providing care.

To read more about this act click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_White_CARE_Act

At the bottom of this email you will find a form letter that can be used by every first responder in conjunction with your agency/receiving hospital. It relates to any patient transported with COVID-19 symptoms. In the meantime, our Attorneys are preparing communications to the hospitals.

Childcare for our responders – The Governor’s Office has provided resources to help our members with Childcare. For more information please click here: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/03/governor-ducey-and-superintendent-hoffman-announce-childcare-covid-19

For much more information about COVID-19 information and resources, please check out the PFFA and IAFF pages below.

https://www.iaff.org/coronavirus/#resources

http://pffaz.org/index.cfm?section=26&pagenum=242

Thank you all and please stay safe out there,

Bry

Exposure Letter