DALLAS — Israel Espinoza has been with Dallas Fire Rescue for more than five years. He's a firefighter and paramedic, and over the last few weeks, he has come across patients with COVID-19.
"I am on the front line," said Espinoza.
He last went to work on Sunday.
Then Tuesday, Espinoza spiked a fever, had unique body aches, and congestion. He decided to get tested and quarantined himself in his trailer outside his home. His coworkers that work the same shift also self-isolated.
"I feel a sense of guilt for bringing that to them," he said.
On Wednesday, Espinoza got the results. He tested positive for COVID-19.
He said Thursday was the scariest day.
"That's when I started too develop shortness of breath. I couldn't have a conversation."
He was worried it would get worse, and thought of his wife and two kids.
"I have a baby boy and a 9-year-old little girl. I wouldn't want anything to happen to them," said Espinoza.
On Friday, Espinoza still felt tired and lethargic, but saw an improvement in his health. He hopes he is on his way to a full recovery.
"Since I am exposed, the likelihood for me to get it again is going to be pretty low," he said.
Once he is better, Espinoza wants to go back to work to take care of patients with COVID-19, and reduce the exposure for other firefighters.
"It's an opportunity for me to step up."
As of April 10, Dallas Fire Rescue reports:
- 11 firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19
- 3 firefighters made full recoveries
- 106 firefighters are in quarantine
All members are doing well and showing minimal symptoms.