FRISCO, Texas — The first responders at the Frisco Fire Department are used to answering the call from the public. But this week, they are also answering the call from Gov. Greg Abbott.
Frisco has been tasked with collecting all the data from fire departments as they get ready to test for COVID-19 at nursing homes. It is a part of the governor's phase one of testing.
"Every time the state needs us, we're there," said Deputy Fire Chief Kyle Mills.
Mills is charged with coordinating the effort throughout the state. All of the data collected from fire departments will be sent to Frisco's Emergency Operations Center.
"We're presenting as a map and as a dashboard with data analytics," said Susan Olson, with Frisco's Information Technology Department.
The numbers are simply a snapshot of tests returned, and those numbers will slowly trickle in over the next several days.
Olson and her I.T. team designed the application in just three days. They created an online form for departments to input data. That data is then collated and presented in an interactive map.
"The ability to visualize this information in a special manner is really important. It gives you a whole new perspective on what's going on in the state," Olson said.
Frisco paramedics will head out Thursday morning to test the residents at three nursing homes. In total, close to 400 residents and staff will be tested; a process that should be complete by the end of the week.
"You will see them wear protective face shields, eye wear, covering every part of responders body," Mills said about the paramedics.
The test kits have been provided by a local lab in cooperation with the state. Mills says the tests will be at no cost to the nursing home resident or city taxpayer.
Frisco stresses that these nursing home tests is just Phase One. Testing for rehabilitation, assisted living and memory care facilities, are likely to come next.
"We expect that order to expand at some point depending on the data that we get from these nursing homes," said Mills.
A North Texas city plays a vital role in the state's COVID fight, answering the call and even going a bit further.
More on WFAA:
- Texas falls short of goal to hire 4,000 contact tracers by mid-May to track spread of coronavirus
- 50-day strict lockdown, 30-day relaxing could solve pandemic, study suggests
- Mandatory testing turned up something one nursing home did not expect
- Nursing homes should be virus-free for 28 days before opening, feds warn