Nearly 200 Dallas first responders quarantined as COVID-19 cases surge

Nearly 200 first responders in Dallas have been quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 amid a surge of omicron cases, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Both the Dallas police and fire departments reported infections, with firefighters making up over three-quarters of the first responders who have been infected, Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans told the newspaper.

Evans added that more fire-rescue workers are now out than at any other time during the pandemic.

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By comparison, the fire department reportedly recorded 29 cases in July, 76 cases in August and 59 in September.

Police Senior Cpl. Brian Martinez told The Dallas Morning News that 36 police officers and eight civilian workers tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Since March 2020, 1,051 workers, 881 of whom were officers, contracted the virus, he added.

Though vaccination against the coronavirus is not mandatory in Dallas, city officials have reportedly encouraged workers to get inoculated.

About 1,902 employees were vaccinated in December 2020 when Dallas first responders were among some of the first people in the city to be eligible for the vaccine. In October and November of 2021, the fire department administered booster shots to around 1,065 police, fire and city marshal staff, the newspaper noted.

City spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar said that it is unclear how many city employees have the virus, as it is not being tracked. Staff who can complete their work remotely have been cleared to do so, she reportedly added.

— Updated at 7:56 a.m.