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New Wrench at Condo Scene: a COVID Outbreak

At least 6 firefighters helping search and rescue efforts at Surfside collapse site have tested positive
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2021 9:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – As people get ready to celebrate the holiday weekend with barbecues and other get-togethers, a COVID outbreak at the site of the South Florida condo collapse reminds us that the pandemic isn't over just yet. Six firefighters helping out at the scene in Surfside have tested positive, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said Friday, reports CBS Miami. "We do have our medical procedures in place," he noted, per the Miami Herald. "Unfortunately, this is another challenge, but something we've been dealing with for over the past year." Cominsky added that the firefighters weren't from a Miami-Dade unit, but with another Florida rescue team. Cominsky said the infected firefighters have been isolated and their particular task force taken out of service, but it's not clear if other rescue workers outside of that have been quarantined.

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Meanwhile, NBC Miami reports on more distressing news for firefighters at the site: The body of the 7-year-old daughter of one of their own has been recovered. Miami-Dade County's Urban Search and Rescue team on Thursday night found the body of the girl, IDed as Stella, in the Champlain Towers South rubble, officials said Friday. They note that the father of the girl, who works with that unit, wasn't on the scene when her body was recovered. Stella was said to have lived in the building with her mother and grandparents, who are still missing. "It goes without saying that every night since this last Wednesday has been immensely difficult for everybody," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a a Friday presser. "But last night was uniquely different ... and more difficult for our first responders." In a statement, the fire department asks for privacy for the family and the department "while we grieve our loss and support our own." (Read more Florida condo collapse stories.)

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