SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A second San Antonio firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19. Both firefighters diagnosed with the novel coronavirus were assigned to the same station, but they worked different shifts.
The contact tracing for the second firefighter is underway, and crew members who worked with this individual have been sent home to isolate until the process is complete.
The firefighter in the second COVID-19 case began to feel ill at work April 11th and was immediately sent home. Those identified as close contacts will be quarantined if necessary, following the recommendations of Metro Health.
“There are fire departments all over the country that have hundreds of positives, so this is something that we have really tried to prepare for, but it’s something that is not unexpected,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told the City Council Tuesday.
He said the number of potential COVID-19 emergency calls is on the rise. Monday, they responded to 28 calls, and 17 patients were transported to hospitals.
Hood outlined steps they’re taking to keep firefighters and paramedics safe, such as checking their temperatures three times a day. They’ve also established two ambulance decontamination sites and have designated locations where firefighters can shower and change into a clean uniform before going back into service.
While they appreciate the outpour of support from the community and those who have delivered meals to first responders, Hood says they can no longer accept food at their fire stations as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
“We are closing the stations down, so any food should be given to the (San Antonio) Food Bank. Our folks are well-fed, and we’re trying to limit exposure,” said Hood.