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Northampton mayor’s chief of staff has COVID-19, two city firefighters awaiting results

  • Alan Wolf, chief of staff for the mayor, speaks at a meeting with Mayor David Narkewicz in November.

Staff Writer
Published: 3/31/2020 2:03:34 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Alan Wolf, the mayor’s chief of staff, is in isolation at his home after testing positive for COVID-19 — making him the second city official, along with Mayor David Narkewicz, known to have contracted the infectious disease.

Also, two city firefighters are awaiting COVID-19 test results in isolation at their homes after exhibiting flu-like symptoms, according to Northampton Fire Rescue Chief Jon Davine.

In a post on his personal Facebook page given by Wolf to the Gazette, Narkewicz’s chief of staff said he tested positive Sunday for COVID-19.

“I’m fine, I’ve had mild-medium symptoms, the biggest giveaway of which was shortness of breath,” Wolf wrote Monday. “Today feels like I’m solidly on the way to recovery rather than expecting something more to happen.”

Wolf said his family “is doing great so far, and we’re being vigilant.”

In a text message exchange Tuesday, Narkewicz, who announced his diagnosis last Thursday and has been working from home in isolation, said that Wolf is also working from home, as is the rest of his staff. Narkewicz said the two firefighters are the only other city employees he is aware of who are awaiting test results for potential COVID-19.

Narkewicz wrote on Facebook late Monday that he’s continuing to recover following his diagnosis, is fever-free, “feeling stronger each day, and my family remains healthy.”

“I also continue to work closely with Northampton’s outstanding Emergency Management Team to keep our community and residents safe and advocate for the resources we need from the state and federal government to get through this unprecedented public health crisis,” Narkewicz wrote.

Davine said the two firefighter/paramedics went into isolation four or five days ago after they started to show flu-like symptoms. Both of them called in to report that they felt sick and stayed home, he said.

He said he believes the firefighters are feeling OK and dealing with minor symptoms. They both were tested for COVID-19, he said, but the results have not come back yet.

Fire and rescue staff members are having their temperatures checked when they show up for work, and those who feel sick are being told to stay at home, Davine said.

“We’re good for PPE (personal protective equipment) and, as long as they wear that, the chances of being exposed here at work are slim,” Davine said. “We’re doing the best we can to keep those people healthy.”

Both Wolf and Narkewicz urged the community to continue to stay at home and social distance in their Facebook posts.

“Please keep sheltering and social distancing. Please keep washing your hands. Please support local organizations and businesses that need our help more than ever. Please check on vulnerable neighbors. Please help first responders, health care workers, and our entire community stay healthy by keeping yourself and your family healthy,” Narkewicz said.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a room with anyone except my boss and my household,” Wolf wrote, “so mostly this is just a heads up that it’s out there in our community — act like you have it and be super careful around high-risk people, because they might not be as lucky as I am.”

According to the state Department of Public Health, as of Monday, there are 5,752 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, including 46 in Hampshire County, 255 in Hampden County and 49 in Franklin County. A total of 56 people have died from the disease in the state, according to DPH data.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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