(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today joined Rep. Joe Neguse (C-02) and more than 30 colleagues in sending a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Director Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging that first responders, including firefighters and police, be a top priority to receive coronavirus tests.  

The Members wrote: "While every effort should be made to ensure wide-spread access to testing for every member of our public, prioritizing first responders for testing during our current time of testing shortages would give the assurance needed for these workers to either continue with self-quarantine measures or return to the invaluable work for which they are desperately needed." 

“Firefighters, police departments 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,” 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. Without priority testing, we’ll continue to put our first responders and our communities at risk.”

“Firefighters are on the front line every day during this crisis and are continuously exposed to the Coronavirus and we currently have few options for testing,” said Poudre Fire Chief Tom DeMint. “Standing up more testing for these critical first responders is essential to maintain the point of the spear for emergency response in our communities.”

Read the letter here.