By Steve Large

TURLOCK (CBS13) — The Turlock Fire Department is battling a cluster of coronavirus infections.

Interim Fire Chief Gary Carlson says so far he’s received eight positive tests in his department out of only 42 firefighters on his staff. The cases are all from firefighters working out of station one and station three.

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The department’s four stations will continue operating, staffing shifts with firefighter overtime.

“We do have protocols in place to keep the stations isolated with the exception of emergency calls. But we have a duty to the city to respond to all emergencies,” Chief Carlson said.

Carlson says the coronavirus was likely initially spread when several stations responded to a single emergency call.

The Stanislaus County Public Health Department is working on contact tracing for the cluster. County guidelines allow essential workers like firefighters to continue going to their jobs even if they have been in contact with a positive case.

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“It allows fire departments or essential workforce to maintain their workforce,” Stanislaus County Public Health spokesperson Kamlesh Kaur said.

The coronavirus cluster comes as Stanislaus County has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases.

The county will learn Tuesday if the uptick requires a drop back to the ‘purple tier’ for its economy, indicating a “widespread” positivity rate.

Trained to fight fires, Turlock’s fire department is now battling coronavirus infections.

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