Coronavirus, News

Tale of Two Cities: Some NY EMS Sleep in Cars, Chicago Offers Hotel Rooms

Concern is running so high in New York City that some FDNY EMS members are reportedly sleeping in their cars to avoid infecting their families with coronavirus.

“They’re sleeping in their cars,” Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY-EMS Local 2507, told ABC News on Tuesday. “We have dozens and dozens and dozens of members who are sleeping in their cars. They rather stay here, sleep in the car, wash up and go do it again.”

Related: Complete COVID-19 Coverage from JEMS

Brazilay said more than 500 members were showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 on Tuesday. More than 50 had tested positive for the virus.

John Rugen, a 16-year veteran, described the situation for EMS workers as “madness.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday the city will provide nearly 300 hotel rooms for the city’s paramedics, firefighters and police officers, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“These rooms aren’t for first responders who are themselves sick,” Lightfoot said, speaking at a graduation ceremony for new paramedics. “We have hospitals for that. However, the reality is that they are coming in contact with the virus everyday and working long, hard hours. And some of them may prefer to stay downtown rather than going home to their spouse, kids or friends.”