48 Hillsborough County first responders in quarantine due to COVID-19

Coronavirus

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County has one of the largest fire rescue departments in the state so it’s not surprising then that more of their people are being directly exposed to the coronavirus.

As of Friday afternoon, 48 fire rescue personnel were in quarantine. That number is down from 63 people who were in quarantine on Thursday.

“Initially a lot of our quarantines and being on cruises or what have you. Now, most of our folks are on quarantine because of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus going on calls,” said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Jason Dougherty.

Now because of the coronavirus, the department has changed the way the are handling calls in order to limit exposure.

“The way we respond with our personal protective equipment, some of that has changed from the initial response, so we are trying to control how much isolation and quarantine we’re getting based off of exposures. We’ve also changed the way we are dispatching calls and responding to calls. We use a screening tool with our dispatchers to give our folks a better idea when they are responding to the calls and what they may be running into,” said Dougherty.

The department is asking anyone who calls 911 to simply be honest about their issues so that firefighters can protect themselves.


WHAT TO KNOW:

  • Florida is reporting 85,926 cases and 3,061 deaths
  • Florida in Phase Two of reopening
  • Cases have spiked in past week, Gov. DeSantis says due to increased testing

“Please be honest with the signs and symptoms they are having, that gives our firefighters the best opportunity to protect themselves from the virus, regardless we are going to take care of any individual that calls 911 but it’s essential they tell us the signs and symptoms so my folks can be better prepared to treat the patients,” said Dougherty.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue has more than 1,000 sworn firefighters in their department.

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