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 47,471 cases and 2,069 deaths
- Florida K-12 schools will remain online/distance learning through the end of the school year
- Florida in Phase One of reopening
- Travelers from NY tri-state area and New Orleans coming to Florida must quarantine for 14 days
“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.
LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:
- Tampa Bay nursing home residents dealing with isolation during pandemic
- Florida unemployment claims continue to climb as US adds 2.5M jobs in May
- Phase Two promising for Florida’s tourism economy
- Florida sees record increase in coronavirus cases, millennials make up most Hillsborough cases
- Safari Wilderness Ranch provides families with up-close exotic animal experience from car in Lakeland