The City of Missoula announced on Tuesday that four more Missoula City Firefighters have tested positive for COVID 19.

Fire Chief Jeff Brandt detailed what has happened over the last few days within the City Fire Department.

“We had our initial case which we were advised of about a week ago,” said Chief Brandt. “Then, as testing continued throughout the department and working with the health department and other providers, we experienced four additional positive cases in the fire department.”

Brandt said they were down quite a few firefighters due to quarantining.

“We had at one time, which really at the peak was yesterday afternoon, I believe we had about 51 folks in quarantine or just staying home,” he said. “We’ve had some good testing this week and set up that to be able to work with Community Cost Care to get our folks tested and back to work.”

Brandt was nonplussed about the infections, since he said the fire department has been extremely careful in the station houses and while making calls for service.

“That’s the interesting part of that, Peter,” he said. “Since March we’ve been following those guidelines and doing what we can. I’m sure there are little aspects here and there that we could have done a bit better, but we continue to enforce those response plans we have, and how we’re doing business at the station. Since March though, every time we roll out the door to a call, we’re wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) every time we come into close contact with our citizens or anyone who calls for help.”

Brandt said following testing, he hopes to have nearly 40 of his firefighters back by the end of this week.

COVID-19 Incident Commander Cindy Farr reminds the public that COVID-19 is still in our community, and we are experiencing community spread. People should keep their social circles small, be safe at work and keep track of personal contacts for the previous 14 days.