(May 24, 2020) In response to Texas Governor, Greg Abbott’s order to have all staff members and residents at Texas nursing homes tested for COVID-19, The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in collaboration with area fire chiefs, created a joint task force to provide regional testing for nursing homes in Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro and Rockwall Counties.
In addition to the Frisco Fire Department, local agencies represented on the task force include Dallas Fire-Rescue, Cedar Hill Fire Department, Plano Fire Rescue Department, Red Oak Fire Department, Desoto Fire Rescue Department, Ovilla Fire Department, Lewisville Fire Department, Corsicana Fire Department, Ennis Fire Department, Garland Fire Department, McKinney Fire Department, Richardson Fire Department, Sachse Fire Department, as well as the Garland Office of Emergency Management.
The Frisco Fire Department has deployed one three-person testing team that will work in collaboration with the task force to complete COVID-19 testing at 139 nursing facilities throughout the region. Planning for the regional response began a week after the Governor’s order. Locations are still in the process of being scheduled, but it is expected that the number of facilities tested daily will see an increase as the operation progresses.
In addition to Frisco’s involvement in the joint task force, Frisco Fire Department was chosen as the host site for a data repository tasked with ensuring all nursing homes are completed statewide. The TIFMAS (Texas Intra-state Fire Mutual Aid System) deployed data team consists of four Frisco Fire Department personnel, along with representation from Frisco’s Information Technology staff. The team will collect nursing home COVID-19 test completions throughout the state and report the information on a geographic information system (GIS) map and dashboard. Frisco Fire Department Deputy Chief Kyle Mills was chosen to oversee the statewide response of TIFMAS resources as the State Coordinator.