April 28, 2020

Congressman Joe Neguse Secures Priority COVID-19 Testing Status for First Responders

Earlier this month the congressman led a letter urging first responders be added to the “high-priority” list 

Washington D.C.—Following a request from Congressman Joe Neguse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added the nation’s first responders to the list of those eligible for high priority COVID-19 testing. Earlier this month, Congressman Neguse led a bipartisan letter, with the support of 33 members of Congress, to Vice President Mike Pence and CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting first responder priority.  First responders who show symptoms of COVID-19 are now eligible for high-priority testing, joining hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, and workers and residents in congregated facilities or long-term care facilities. 

“Firefighters, police officers and first responders across our nation are on the frontlines of assisting citizens during this pandemic and it is absolutely essential that they have access to coronavirus testing so they can continue to execute their duties in the field without fear of infecting the communities they serve. Since the beginning of this pandemic we have fought to ensure adequate protections for our first responders and firefighters and we’re grateful for the CDC’s change to accommodate our request and ensure first responders are given high priority for testing,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “In particular, as we enter wildfire season in Colorado and across the western U.S., the ability for firefighters to execute their duties is essential. Every day in every community across our country, emergency personnel are sacrificing their own health and safety to protect our communities, in return we must ensure we are providing them the utmost protection for their individual health and well-being throughout this public health emergency and ensuring our communities continue to be protected during this vulnerable time.”

“The safety and health of our communities is a top priority for us all,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper. “We must to do everything possible to ensure our first responders can protect our communities. Priority testing for first responders is crucial. In Jefferson County, a local wildland fire crew had to quarantine after one member came down with COVID-19 symptoms in an area that is high risk for wildfires. I am grateful for Congressman Neguse’s leadership to ensure that first responders are eligible for high priority testing and for ensuring our communities in Jefferson County have the resources they need to combat this virus.”

“As critical first responders, firefighters truly are on the front line of our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Poudre Fire Chief Tom DeMint. “Increasing the availability of testing for these firefighters will ensure that we can maintain the necessary staffing levels for not only COVID-related calls but also for our routine emergency responses as well. We are grateful for Congressman Neguse’s leadership in making this happen.”

Read the letter here.

New guidance can be viewed here.