In the lead-up to the projected peak of coronavirus cases in Ohio, Akron’s safety forces are preparing. The city established a temporary self-quarantine facility for all its safety workers at the city-owned Balch Street Fitness Center.
City workers, from firefighters and cops to dispatchers and call center workers, can use the gym if they test positive for COVID-19. The facility has sleeping quarters, showers and a kitchen.
Two firefighters tested positive for the coronavirus, while a few others are self-quarantining because of possible exposure. Lte. Sierjie Lash said the Balch Street facility is offered on a voluntary basis and is designed for self-care.
“We try to maintain fitness for our police and firefighters. That is an important factor,” she said. “So we just provided this for those who do not want to further expose their families and don’t have quarantining options at home to separate from their families. We don’t have any firefighters who have taken us up on the offer yet.”
Lash said workers on the frontlines are carefully monitored, and their temperatures are taken three times a day.
The department is also receiving some donations of personal protective equipment, which is in dire need by the entire medical community.