COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) —Columbia fire chief, Ty Cobb, sent 12 firefighters home Monday after the first responders came into contact with a certain candidate testing for the department.
“The candidate that did the agility testing that day didn’t have any signs or symptoms,” explained Chief Cobb, “He just went and got tested, found out he was positive, and contacted us which we appreciate him doing that.”
The department wasted no time notifying the other candidates along with the firefighters conducting the testing exercise.
“We made the decision to get our employees tested. That was 12 firefighters among three stations among the training division,” Cobb said.
The results of the COVID-19 tests are expected within 72 hours, but as of now, Cobb said none of the firefighters have any symptoms. “They’ve checked themselves. They’ve self quarantined.”
Chief Cobb explained, despite the temporary loss of 12 team members, the remaining 85 personnel in the department can pick up the slack. ”We were able to shift some people around to cover those stations and have personnel on those trucks. It did not effect our emergency response or any of our coverage.”
But he recognized how devastating COVID-19 can be if not caught quickly.
“You can see, just by the impact it can have, that when somebody has tested positive and it got though the work force, it can effect 3-5 maybe more stations and have a huge impact on the emergency protection and services we provide to the public,” said Cobb.
He encouraged everyone to wear masks and wash their hands often.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH reports each day. )