HILLSBOROUGH COUTNY, Fla. — Hillsborough County Fire Rescue announced Friday afternoon that two fire rescue personnel tested positive for COVID-19 while an additional 48 others were in quarantine for 14 days.
According to Jason Dougherty, Deputy Chief of Operations for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, the numbers will fluctuate.
On Thursday, the department had 63 people in quarantine, but as people get better and firefighters test negative, they are cleared for duty.
Dougherty said everyone in the public needs to do their part to help keep exposure to the virus down.
“Please be honest with the signs and symptoms they have, that gives our firefighters the best opportunity to protect themselves from the virus,” Dougherty said. “Regardless, we are going to take care of any individual who calls 911 absolutely. But, it’s very important they tell us the signs and symptoms so my folks can be better prepared to treat the patients.”
First responders are on the front lines running on multiple calls each day. They are following CDC and DOH guidelines and treating everyone as if they are infected.
But, depending on the call, Dougherty said some don’t have time to put on their personal protective equipment or have it with them.
Right now, Dougherty says they are comfortable with their PPEs, but as more calls come in and the cases increase, they will be in short supply.
“Based on the predicted number of call volume and COVID19 patients we are having, we definitely need more PPE,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty wanted the public to know no matter what happens, they will be ready to serve the community they swore to protect.
“They understand the challenge we have set forth, they are doing a tremendous job an outstanding job I couldn’t be more proud of what our folks are doing,” Dougherty said. “So, from a morale standpoint, I say that right now Hillsborough county fire rescue is ready to serve through duty, honor, and courage."