HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Eight Houston firefighters are being quarantined as of Tuesday after becoming high risk of contracting coronavirus after coming in contact with a patient who tested positive last week.
Five of the firefighters are spending the two-week quarantine in a Houston hotel because it is not safe for them at home.
The wife of one of them spoke with ABC13 Tuesday.
Krystal Roman said her husband came in contact with a patient he didn’t know had the virus. She said he spent a day at home after that and went back to work.
He called her from the station Saturday night and Houston Fire Department’s Infection Control told him the concerning news.
HFD and CDC protocols allow high risk firefighters to quarantine at home in a separate bedroom away from other family members.
Roman said her husband can’t quarantine at home because having an 18-month-old daughter at home is even riskier.
After a late night shuffle by the Firefighters Union and HFD senior command, her husband, whose name she asked us not to use, was sent to quarantine at a budget motel with no plan for food.
“The city has definitely failed the firefighters in a huge way,” Roman told ABC13, “It shouldn’t come as a shock that firefighters were exposed. There should’ve been a plan of action in case this was to happen.”
The City of Houston and Houston Fire Department told ABC13 there was a plan. It just wasn’t finished by Saturday night when it needed to go into effect.
Thursday morning, the firefighters were moved to a full service downtown hotel with delivered meals, but Roman’s husband is starting to show signs of illness.
“He’s not feeling too good,” Roman said. “He does have a sore throat and a cough – a bad cough. Today, he was feeling a little nauseous.”
Her husband’s drive-thru test from this weekend isn’t back after 48 hours. It could be another day before he knows. The city says she is not eligible for one without showing symptoms herself. She describes the wait as “excruciating” and would love to get tested herself, telling ABC13, “It would give her peace of mind.”
So far, she and their daughter, Abby, feel fine, but there is something she said you can do.
She said to speak up. If you need 911 then call, but if you have any symptoms tell the dispatcher and the crew that shows up.
Houston fire fighters will still help, but they’ll protect themselves first.
“Please, please, please, please,” she begged from her home over FaceTime to ABC13, “Firefighters are not equipped with everything they need to protect themselves and they can only use it if you let them know you have a symptom.”
Her husband’s quarantine isn’t over until April 3rd.