WASHINGTON (KDKA) — Washington City Police Department is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.
Six officers are off the streets after testing positive for the virus. Police chief said his department has 30 officers and one K-9. He said he can currently maintain minimum staffing levels while those six people are gone. But if more agents test positive for COVID-19, that could change.
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The chief said he was notified of the first positive case on Saturday. He said the other five followed in the days after.
Councilor Joe Manning says it’s worrying.
“When I found out that we had six officers who tested positive, one of the first things that came to my mind was the stats that the FOP shows, it was the biggest killer of police officers in the country last year,” Manning said. .
According to the Fraternal Order of Police, 793 officers in the US have died as a result of COVID-19. Twenty-two of those killed were officers in Pennsylvania.
Manning said none of the six cases on the ward are serious, and he hopes it stays that way.
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“For now, it looks like there are sinus infections, things like that, but for the most part they’re fine,” Manning said.
The chief said some of his officers have been vaccinated while others have not, and the concern now is whether other officers in the department will come back positive – not just for their health, but for overall public safety.
“We would rely on mutual aid from surrounding communities if needed,” Manning said.
Manning insists, however, that the city is currently covered, and other officers are filling those six vacant spots with overtime. He also said the chief is taking extra measures to keep his staff safe.
“I am pleased that the chief is proactive and is taking steps to prevent further spread by only allowing officers in cars to social distancing and mask themselves within the walls of the police station,” Manning said.
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Manning said this is the first time in the city that so many public safety officers have come back positive for COVID-19 at once.