COVID-19 first responders rescued by one of their own making 3D masks

Covington Lt. Jimmy Myers' ambulance crew exposed
Posted at 6:00 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 17:55:22-04

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.

After a special Covington Fire ambulance team was exposed to COVID-19, a Covington Police officer stepped up in a unique way to protect his fellow first responders.

“Thankfully for me, I’ve been symptom-free and living a pretty normal life,” says Covington Fire Lt. Jimmy Adams.

WCPO 9 introduced you to Adams and his ambulance team earlier this month after Covington Fire assigned them to take all possible COVID-19 patients to the hospital.

Adams had just taken two people in the ambulance and learned later that both tested positive for the highly contagious disease.

“We were told if we developed symptoms that we would be tested,” Adams told us.

But limited testing in Kentucky left the crew uncertain, so they isolated for 14 days.

“I’ve been pretty secluded,” Adams said. “I’ve been doing workouts at home in the driveway, making sure I don’t go anywhere so I can expose anyone if I’m asymptomatic.”

Both Adams and his wife work in healthcare, so they moved their son in with his grandparents when the virus started spreading.

“There’s FaceTime conversations every day, and he’s still working on schoolwork from home,” Adams said.

Their commitment to us inspires people.

Enter Covington Police Officer Ryan Eldridge with the nonprofit Behind the Badge Inc.

Eldridge and nearly a dozen volunteers use 3D printers to produce protective masks, providing safety supplies that are hard to obtain.

“I’d rather be a part of the solution in making sure our first responders are continued to be taken care of as well as our health care professionals,” Eldridge told us.

They are still seeking volunteers to print more and donations for materials. Local first responders who want a 3D mask can click here to sign up for one.

You’ll notice Covington and Fort Wright police and fire wearing them first.

Adams said that can be lifesaving. He has seen the pain of patients and he has experienced the uncertain quarantine.

Through it all, Adams offered advice and words of comfort:

“I wake up every day thinking that we’re closer to the end than we are to the beginning, and that’s just the way you have to view it,” he said. “We’re getting closer to whatever new normal is going to be.”

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.