It’s no secret that Florida is under a lot of pressure as the number of COVID cases continues to reach record-breaking numbers. We previously shared that Orange County (where most of Walt Disney World is located) is under a state of emergency due to the rise in COVID cases. As of recently, Disney has required Guests to return to wearing masks indoors. They have even begun requiring Cast Members to be vaccinated. Now, we’re learning a little insight into a spread of COVID cases that is hitting the Reedy Creek Fire Department. This is the fire department that serves the Walt Disney World area and Guests.
As reported by OrlandoSentinel: “A COVID-19 outbreak at the Reedy Creek Fire Department — the agency that responds to emergency calls across Walt Disney World Resort — has highlighted the lack of support at the department for first responders who are exposed to or contract the virus, members of the agency’s union said. Jon Shirey, president of the Reedy Creek Firefighters Association, said contact tracing revealed 90 firefighters and paramedics of the department’s 205-person staff have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past two weeks after two employees tested positive at the end of July, and so far 10 have contracted COVID. At least two of those who tested positive were already vaccinated, he said.”
According to the union, the fire department responsible for the Walt Disney World area is not providing workers’ compensation for COVID-related illness. Instead, the firefighters are having to use their own personal leave during the COVID quarantine. With that, many firefighters are coming to work even with potential COVID symptoms to keep from having to use their personal leave even though employees are required to report a positive COVID test. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is denying benefits because it’s almost impossible to prove where the COVID exposure occurred.
On the flip side, Eryka Washington, communications director for the Reedy Creek Improvement District, said the COVID cases and exposures cited by the union were incorrect but added the district cannot release its numbers.
To view the full story, visit OrlandoSentinel.com. We hope this workers’ compensation is figured out quickly so firefighters can leave their position when sick rather than spreading COVID further to their fellow firefighters and those Walt Disney World travelers they are assisting.