INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Testing found several Indiana Task Force 1 members returning home from the Florida condo collapse have contracted the coronavirus, a spokeswoman for the group said Wednesday night.
Indiana’s top search-and-rescue team said earlier Wednesday on Twitter that it’d received a send-off from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue before leaving Surfside, Florida. They’d departed about 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Just after 7 p.m. Wednesday, spokeswoman Rita Reith of the Indianapolis Fire Department revealed in a media advisory that “several members” of Task Force 1 have tested positive for COVID-19.
Reith said the affected task force members were traveling home in a rented minivan to isolate themselves from others. She said the task force members would be tested again for coronavirus before returning to the Indiana Task Force 1 headquarters on Friday morning.
The media advisory did not indicate whether the task force members who’d tested positive had been vaccinated.
Indiana Task Force 1 Chief Tom Neal said family members and the media will not be allow to greet or interview any of the returning members of Indiana Task Force 1 on Friday, according to Reith. Images may be collected from a distance, however.
“The team will conduct a debrief, medical checks, unload gear and supplies prior to being dismissed,” Reith said in the advisory.
During the early stages of the Surfside search-and-rescue effort, several Florida Task Force 1 members tested positive for COVID-19 and were isolated from other teams.
As of early Thursday afternoon, exhausted crews were nearing the end of their search for victims of the Miami-area condominium tower collapse. The death toll had reached 95 with just a handful of people still unaccounted for.