Updated 11:01 a.m. May 19

During a May 19 Williamson County Commissioners Court update, Williamson County EMS Director Mike Knipstein said a sixth EMS employee has tested positive for coronavirus.

He added that an additional 22 employees are currently self-quarantined.

Knipstein said another 19 tests were administered May 18, and the department is awaiting results, which he said he anticipates will come May 19. He said one test has returned negative.

From earlier:

Williamson County EMS has five employees that have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a May 15 news release.

The employees were in self-quarantine prior to their diagnosis and have not had contact with the public since being diagnosed, the release said, adding that all employees are being monitored at home.

Williamson County is working with the Williamson County and Cities Health District to identify coworkers and others who may have had contact with the employees so they can take necessary precautions, the release said.

“While we have employees out due to illness or self-isolation, the WCEMS system retains the ability to respond to all calls and ensures continuous service to the community with existing resources,” EMS Director Mike Knipstein said in the release.

“We have strict protocols in place for our paramedics when responding to someone with flu-like symptoms or a potential infectious disease,” Knipstein said. “We have been working over the past sixty-plus days to ensure our first responders are properly protected and equipped while performing their jobs. The health and safety of our employees is our highest priority.”

Williamson County EMS has enacted proactive measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 amongst EMS staff, the release said. Operational orders were implemented requiring the use of surgical masks at all times when a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained. This is in addition to existing requirements for daily temperature checks and other health assessments prior to and during an employee’s EMS shift. Enhanced cleaning of stations and ambulances also has been implemented.