The City of Plainview on Tuesday announced a firefighter tested positive for the coronavirus as cases and testing continue to increase in Hale County.


According to a release from the City of Plainview, they were notified on June 22 about the firefighter testing positive. This news was not released until Monday, a week after the diagnosis. Hale County currently has 126 active cases, and 300 total.


The release states the firefighter is believed to have contracted the virus locally and is now in self-isolation, and other department staff are being monitored.


"Firefighters put themselves at risk for our citizens day in and day out and it was just a matter of time before we started having first responders exposed and testing positive," said Fire Chief Tim Gibson. "We do need our citizens and businesses to adopt the CDC recommended mitigation protocols such as social distancing, hand sanitizer and mask wearing when 6-foot distancing is not practical."


The Texas Department of Emergency Management conducted testing in Plainview at Wayland Baptist University on Thursday, with U.S. Air Force personnel assisting. In total, 309 people were tested.


People who wanted to be tested were asked to call the day before. Coralyn Dillard, a nurse for WBU who coordinated the event, said the call center was not prepared for the more than 6,000 calls they received in response.


A line of cars filled the testing site throughout the day, and the hours were extended to 7 p.m. so every vehicle in line was able to be serviced.


As of Tuesday afternoon, the Plainview/Hale County Health Department reported 65 new cases for the start of the week.


The city reports 266 of the confirmed cases to date have been transmitted locally. Currently, there are 18 residents being treated for COVID-19 at a hospital, while 108 are in self-isolation at home. And 213 people are under monitoring by the health department.


Out of the total 300 cases, 167 people have recovered and seven have died.