More than 230 Jacksonville firefighters in quarantine, 33 tested positive for COVID-19

More than 230 Jacksonville firefighters in quarantine, 33 tested positive for COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Right now, there are more than 230 Jacksonville firefighters in quarantine, and 33 of them have confirmed positive cases. That’s 19 more than cases than Friday. 

Over the weekend JFRD tested over 300 people, and they plan to test everyone as soon as they can.

“It kind of brings it back to the forefront of what a dangerous job we’re doing every day. And some of the fallout that can occur from that is happening, we’re having a large impact to our department right now,” explains Union President Randy Wyse.

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Wyse says every part of town has been affected. Chief Powers says there’s 77 vacancies per shift, but luckily for now they’re able to fill the gap with people volunteering to work overtime and take on extra shifts.

In case more are affected, the city has a plan in place to use retired firefighters. It’s a process that won’t take place over night.

“We couldn’t just let them come back out immediately they have to go through some training to make sure they’re up-to-date on some of our safety equipment,” explains Wyse.

Retired district fire chief Steve Gerbert left four years ago. He says for him it would involve too much training, since he would have to get re-certified.

Gerbert says, “I myself have no plans on going back but I’m sure there are some people that would.” 

He believes it would be a week or two of training before those retired could come back.