The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) staffing shortage due to COVID-19 slowly improves. But the department is not out of the woods yet, MCFRS Chief Scott Goldstein said during a county council committee meeting Thursday.
At the end of last month, the department made adjustments because 133 personnel could not work due to COVID-19. An additional 75 could not work due to other health problems.
On Thursday, Goldstein said the number of staff currently not working due to COVID-19 has dipped into the 80s, about half of the peak shortage of about 168 on Jan. 3. Numbers have improved in the last week, he said.
“But, I will not call us out of the woods and recovered from this surge until we get back to our early December numbers.” He said staff shortages then were as low as the upper 20s and low 30s on a daily basis, and he thinks it will take another couple of weeks to get near that point.
Goldstein commended fire rescue service staff for stepping up to keep the department running.
“Adding extra standbys… extra overtime shifts to fill in the vacancies for their sick partners and coworkers.”
According to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, 77.2% of MCFRS have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. 6.71% reported they are not vaccinated and 16.1% have not reported their status.