As calls for service steadily rise, Cy-Fair department remains near full force amid pandemic

Members of the Cy-Fair Fire Department respond to a call in early July. (Courtesy Cy-Fair Fire Department)
Members of the Cy-Fair Fire Department respond to a call in early July. (Courtesy Cy-Fair Fire Department)

Members of the Cy-Fair Fire Department respond to a call in early July. (Courtesy Cy-Fair Fire Department)

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to pose challenges for public workers in the city of Houston and beyond, officials with the Cy-Fair Fire Department said staffing levels remain strong as of early July.

The department had 12 of its roughly 600 members in quarantine as of July 9, including both positive and presumptive positive cases, Fire Chief Amy Ramon said. None of the 12 cases are related to the transport of patients while on duty, but were instead tied to community exposure, Ramon said.

"Our trucks are still fully staffed," she said. "We’re not having problems filling any shifts at all. It’s been quite amazing. Everybody in our department—doesn’t matter if you’re paid or volunteer—have really stepped up during COVID[-19]."

Call volumes dropped substantially during the shutdown that ran from late March through April, but Ramon said calls have since increased to slightly above normal levels.

"I’d say probably 30% of [people] we transport have some sort of COVID[-19]-type symptom," Ramon said. "That’s not saying they are all COVID[-19] patients. It's just to the point where we are taking extra precautions."


The department has had protocols in place since March designed to mitigate the spread of the virus among members, Ramon said, including requiring everyone in the office and at the fire stations to wear masks, and wearing tight suits and face shields for calls where a presumed COVID-19 patient is involved. The department also hired "decontamination" personnel, newly created positions for people who oversee the decontamination of ambulances and first responders after any call where a presumed COVID-19 patient was transported.

If a fire fighters is showing symptoms of COVID-19, they are immediately sent to get tested, Ramon said. When a fire fighter reports that a spouse or someone in their household has tested positive, they are presumed positive and told to quarantine, which can be done at home or at one of two facilities that have been outfitted specifically for people who are presumed positive or waiting on test results.

Prior to the pandemic, the Cy-Fair Fire Department started the process of merging with Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9 as a part of a larger effort to start bringing on more paid fire fighters to help with increasing needs in the Cy-Fair area. The first round of 14 full-time fire fighters officially started on the job in February, but plans to bring on another class this summer have been delayed to late 2020 or early 2021, Ramon said.

In the meantime, Ramon said the mix of volunteers, part-time staff and full-time staff have been meeting demands. She expressed gratitude for the support the department has gotten from the community.

"The Cypress community has always surrounded our department with support and love, and we definitely feel that in this time," she said.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

Tenants in Houston and Harris County can apply for a second round of rent relief in Mid-August. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Rent relief: How to apply for the latest assistance in Houston and Harris County

Renters can apply for a new round of rental assistance in mid-August.

Teachers with Cy-Fair ISD spoke out against in-person professional development days at an Aug. 10 school board meeting. (Courtesy American Federation of Teachers Cy-Fair branch)
Local American Federation of Teachers branch sues Cy-Fair ISD to stop in-person professional development

The lawsuit was filed the same day a three-week slate of in-person professional development kicked off for CFISD teachers.

Dr. Molly Lopez is the director of the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health and also serves as a research associate professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. (Designed by Stephanie Torres/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Mental health expert talks emotional well-being, building resiliency for the 2020-21 school year

According to Dr. Molly Lopez, director of the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health, the upcoming school year will serve as an opportunity for students, families, teachers and school administrators to learn skills in coping, re-evaulate mental health protocols and build resiliency in challenging times.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center: COVID-19 hospitalizations down 19% since Aug. 7

Hospitals with the medical center reported fewer COVID-19 patients, fewer in intensive care and fewer deaths than last week.

Jules Design Bar
TABC change opens window for some bars to qualify as restaurants under state pandemic orders

Following a new industry guideline recently distributed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, more bars across the state may soon be able to qualify as restaurants.

Sixteen long-term flood mitigation project recommendations throughout the San Jacinto River watershed were presented at a public meeting Aug. 13. (Community Impact staff)
16 projects totaling $2.9B-$3.3B could help prevent flooding in San Jacinto River watershed

The proposals are designed to reduce flood damage projected to occur throughout the San Jacinto River watershed over the coming 50 years

Aug. 13 marked the fourth day in a row in which the daily case count was under 1,000, an occurrence that took place only twice between July 15 and Aug. 9. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 931 new cases, 34 deaths confirmed Aug. 13

Aug. 13 marked the fourth day in a row in which the daily case count was under 1,000, an occurrence that took place only twice between July 15 and Aug. 9.

Daily festival capacity will be limited to 22,500, according to festival information for the upcoming 46th season. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Mask-break areas, limited capacity: Texas Renaissance Festival unveils health guidelines for 46th season

All tickets for the upcoming 46th festival season are date-specific, and no general admission tickets will be sold at the gate.

Safety measures planned to combat COVID-19 spread in Cy-Fair ISD

According to the district, 34% of students plan to attend classes in person, while 43% intend to engage virtually.

Tomball residents Tamara and Jon Hamilton will open Just Love Coffee Cafe at 13727 Sunset Canyon Drive, Ste. 400, Tomball, in October. (Courtesy Just Love Coffee Cafe Tomball)
Just Love Coffee Cafe coming to Tomball this fall

Many of the cafe's menu items are "waffleized," meaning omelets, cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy, and other dishes are cooked in a waffle iron.

Tom and Caty Johnston own Suzybeez Bakery in Cypress. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Cy-Fair business Suzybeez Bakery featured on Netflix series ‘Sugar Rush’

Tom and Caty Johnston, owners of Suzybeez Bakery in Cy-Fair, were featured on the newest season of “Sugar Rush,” a fast-paced competitive baking show on Netflix.

The Harris County Annex off Cypresswood Drive is among the buildings that reopened Aug. 10 to offer several services by appointment, including marriage licenses. (Staff photo)
Harris County Clerk's Office reopens annex buildings for services by appointment

Residents can now arrange to get marriage licenses, birth and death certificates and Doing Business As filings at 11 annex buildings located throughout the county.