Biloxi firefighter cleared to return to work after being diagnosed with COVID-19

Updated: Apr. 12, 2020 at 2:28 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Easter Sunday was Casey Whitehead’s first day back on the job at Biloxi Fire Station Number 5.

“Feels good, I’m glad to be back, helping out where I can. It got kind of boring, two weeks in quarantine.”

Whitehead was one of 9 firefighters who tested positive for COVID-19. Currently, more than 20 firefighters department-wide are in quarantine, according to the City of Biloxi website.

“It started with a fever, a headache— after my first day, the headache went away. I still had sore throat, cough," he listed.

He said his wife also showed similar symptoms but tested negative for coronavirus. The last two weeks were spent focusing on recovery.

“Luckily, we had bad days alternating, so if I was down and out, my wife kind of took care of me, then whenever she was having her worst days I was feeling better and I could take care of her," said Whitehead.

Whitehead is happy to working with his crew again. The team spent the morning catching up between calls.

“They’ve been giving me a rough time, but I think they’re happy to see me," Whitehead said. "They were concerned about me, I had a lot of phone calls and texts when I was out.”

Daily tasks now include helping with an intensive cleanup routine. The Biloxi Fire Department has been disinfecting its stations twice a day, as well as following other CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus.

He noted, “We’ve definitely stepped up the process to try to prevent other guys from getting COVID or taking it home to their families.”

Whitehead’s message to others who may not be feeling well: Do not ignore your symptoms.

“I’m lucky that my case never got that bad," he said. “It’s not something that I would put off if you’re having trouble breathing or shortness of breath. You definitely need to seek extra care.”

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