The City of Ferris has shifted their 911 dispatch service to Ellis County after three of their four dispatchers have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
One of those to become ill, Mike Atwell, died earlier this month.
“In a small community like this it impacts everybody when we lose somebody like this and our city has been hit fairly hard,” said City Manager Brooks Williams.
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Williams said the death of Atwell, a former police officer, was the biggest loss of what had already been a tough run for the city during the pandemic. According to Williams, about 20% of city staff have contracted COVID-19 and the city has yet to receive any doses of the vaccine.
“While we don’t have as many first responders, if you did a ratio of first responders to calls answered we do just as many and so our folks are just as at risk as others, so it is disappointing we haven’t been able to get them the vaccine yet,” said Williams.
The city’s fire and police chief both agree getting the vaccine is important but say close cooperation within the city and county have helped maintain city services despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“If we are going to be sent out there, I want my guys to be as protected as they want to be or as much will be allowed,” said Fire Chief Brian Horton. “We are hoping to receive the vaccine here soon,” said Police Chief John DeLeon.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.