First responders answer concerns for stopping COVID-19 spread

First responders in the Houston area remain on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19.

While civilians are urged to keep their social distance from one another, first responders often times have no choice.

“We do have about 173 firefighters that are in quarantine, which is putting an incredible strain in our ability to staff,” said HFD Chief Sam Peña. “We are maintaining the full strength of our department.”

Roughly 500 first responders in Houston are in quarantine, that we’re aware of. This includes The Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’m sad to report that the officer that we reported last night to be in the hospital is now on a ventilator,” said Houston PD Chief Art Acevedo. “As we always do, we ask you that pray for him and his family.”

“It’s just different times,” said Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman. “Not only are we fighting the bad guys still, but we’re fighting this invisible enemy.”

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According to Herman, a Precinct 4 deputy has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, at least two deputies are in quarantine after possible exposure to the virus.

“They’re heroes,” said Herman. “They’re out here doing their job, being exposed every day. We can just pray to God for them every day.”

So far, three inmates at the Harris County Jail has tested positive for the Coronavirus. In addition, about 800 inmates were possibly exposed and are now in quarantine.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, first responders are wearing new protective gear when they arrive at scenes.

“First responders are approaching their calls as if everybody in the City of Houston has this virus,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

“We’re urging you to stay home before this thing hits home,” said Chief Peña.