OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Fire Department is enacting an emergency staffing plan after 10 of their own tested positive for COVID-19 and put 55 in quarantine.
The OKCFD put their plan in place at the start of the pandemic.
Now unfortunately, they’re having to take their most aggressive steps.
“We are now in what’s called ‘level red’ of that plan which is the most serious level of that plan,” said Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson.
Fulkerson says 10 firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19 but does not have details on their conditions.
He says none of the cases were contracted on the job.
“Which just goes to show everyone that we have to be so careful right now because you can get it, just in your everyday lives, doing things,” Fulkerson said.
Under “Level Red” of the department’s COVID-19 staffing plan, staffing and personal leave are handled day-by-day at each individual station.
“We’re not sending firefighters to other stations within the city for staffing reasons,” said Fulkerson.
Social distancing measures and enhanced sanitation is still being practiced – especially during shift change.
Additionally – they are conducting three rounds of antibody testing.
So far – out of nearly 650 firefighters tested – only 7 have had COVID-19 antibodies.
“If they come back with a positive antibody test then we’ll conduct a cover test to see if they’re actually still shedding the virus and they’re still contagious,” Fulkerson said.
All to protect those – whose duty is to protect Oklahoma City.
The antibody tests will continue into next year.