8 Mass. fire departments report breakthrough COVID-19 cases


(WPRI) — After a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated firefighters, a union representing more than 12,000 firefighters and EMTs in Massachusetts is taking action.

The Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts recently took to social media saying due to the uptick, it would be resuming a “weekly COVID-19 text system” to track members’ continued exposure to the pandemic.

Union President Richard MacKinnon told WBZ at least ten breakthrough cases have been reported in eight communities, including Attleboro, New Bedford, Plymouth, Cambridge, Saugus, Lynn, Lowell, and East Bridgewater.

MacKinnon said the concern is there could be more cases if the firefighters are asymptomatic. They work in close quarters and their exposure is high.

“We don’t want to be part of the problem and spread it to the public we’re responding to,” MacKinnon said. “We also don’t want to infect our families, that’s the biggest concern with our firefighters.”

Nearly 8,000 breakthrough cases have been recorded in Massachusetts, out of the roughly 4.3 million vaccinated residents.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 7,737 confirmed COVID-19 cases among those who are considered fully vaccinated as of July 31. Those cases represent 0.18% of the state’s vaccinated population.

The DPH says 100 people with breakthrough infections have died, and 395 cases have resulted in hospital admissions.

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