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Hundreds of Houston first responders are under quarantine with many staying in hotels during the 14-day period

HOUSTON – The number of Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Department personnel under quarantine continued to grow Thursday. By nightfall, there were 250 employees between the two departments that were quarantined.

Some of these employees — 16 members of HFD and one from HPD — were quarantined in a hotel in downtown Houston. Ray Hunt, a past president of the Houston Police Officers Union said the officer would rather be on his beat than in a hotel the next 14 days.

“He’s doing great, I just talked to him — on the phone of course. He wishes he could be out on the streets.” Hunt said.

HFD union head Marty Lancton said a number of hotels around the city were willing to provide rooms for first responders who could not quarantine safely at home. However, Lancton did question why a quarantine strategy for first responders was not established sooner.

“They should have been in place weeks ago in preparedness. We’ll take what we can get,” he said.

A spokesperson for Mayor Sylvester Turner said “several key personnel are continuing to inspect and secure potential accommodations.”

One southeast Houston hotel confirmed to KPRC 2 it is planning to exclusively house first responders needing to quarantine.

“The needs are pretty simple in our minds, which is a secure facility, that means that it is closed to the general public because these first responders have got to have a facility that is earmarked for them,” said Lancton.

HFD Chief Sam Peña said his department is operating under the assumption that everyone they come in contact with has been infected. By using more personal protective equipment, HFD hopes to reduce the possible exposure of first responders in the department.

Between the two departments, there are five positive coronavirus cases. Peña attributes the low number of cases in his department to the extras protective measures taken with each call.