Amarillo Fire Department helping Public Health Department with COVID-19 testing

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The City of Amarillo is preparing for more testing after Gov. Greg Abbott said the state wants to test every staff and resident at all state-certified nursing homes for COVID-19.

“Like any other place when there are groups of people together, that increases the risk,” said Amarillo’s Public Health Director, Casie Stoughton.

The Amarillo Fire Department is training to do whatever they can to help Amarillo Public Health with the testing.

Capt. Cody Snyder, the Public Information Officer for AFD said, “The Amarillo Fire Department is tasked with getting all of the ones in the city of Amarillo tested. We have guys that are paramedics, we have HAZMAT technicians, our guys are used to putting on a lot of PPE, we’re trained in not spreading contaminants. So that’s part of the reason they come to the fire departments to complete this.”

This isn’t by any means a small task.

“As of this last Monday, we were told we have two weeks to get it done. Amarillo has 14 nursing homes in its jurisdiction that have to be tested.” said Capt. Snyder.

We asked Capt. Snyder if using firefighters to help with testing would put a strain on the department when it comes to their normal jobs of helping the community.

“Fire departments all over the country have always been asked to do more with less,” he said. “I mean we adapt, that’s what we do, and when these guys step up and volunteer as they have, we do have extra personnel that can fill in their spots.”

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