Delaware police officers take precautions against coronavirus

DOVER – One Delaware State Police trooper who tested positive for COVID-19 has since fully recovered and returned to full duty, spokeswoman Master Cpl. Melissa Jaffe said Monday.

“The trooper experienced very mild flu-like symptoms and immediately self-isolated and sought medical treatment as a precautionary measure,” she said. “The trooper was subsequently tested for COVID-19, resulting in a positive diagnosis.

“Individuals that had immediate contact with the trooper were notified and closely monitored in the days following the diagnosis.”

DSP did not release any further details.

Seven Dover Police officers have self-quarantined after potential coronavirus exposures in the past three weeks, spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said Monday.

No officers were confirmed to be infected or displayed any COVID-19 symptoms, authorities said. The majority of officers have returned to work or are scheduled to come back shortly, according to Cpl. Hoffman said.

“This was done in an abundance of caution to not only protect the health and safety of our officers but also members of the community they interact with,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

Four Laurel Police officers have self-quarantined as a precaution following three incidents, Chief Dan Wright said. No officers ever exhibited any signs related to the virus, he said.

According to Chief Wright, incident details occurring between April 3 and April 8 included:

• Two officers responded to a CPR in progress. Officers entered the residence to assist with the patient. It was later learned the patient was quarantined from their family members per doctor’s orders. Officers sent home to self-quarantine, have since returned to work. No tests were given to officers.

• Officers respond to a domestic incident. One person exhibited signs and symptoms related to COVID-19. The person was transported to a nearby hospital and tested. Results were released three days later and the person tested negative.

• An officer comes in contact with a medical professional who had contact with a COVID-19 patient. The medical professional tested negative.

On Monday, Blades Police Chief Paul Anthony said one officer is on self-quarantine from a secondary exposure and may return Wednesday.

In Georgetown, three officers have self-isolated at various times, spokesman Det. Joey Melvin said.

“One of our officers returned from an international trip and needed to quarantine for 14 days,” he said. “Another officer spent four days in isolation until the results of a COVID-19 test on a close family member came back negative.

“Finally, one officer is currently quarantined and being monitored by his physician and is pending COVID-19 test results.”

Police taking precautions

According to DSP Cpl. Jaffe, “The health and well-being of our troopers as well as the community we serve remains the top priority as we continue to serve and protect, during this unprecedented event.

“We will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the Delaware Department of Public Health, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.”

Dover’s self quarantines resulted from personal contacts during scattered incidents, police said. The most recent case in the past three to four days came involving a person who had been tested for COVID-19.

Due to privacy laws, police said they are limited in obtaining followup medical information.

Cpl. Hoffman said he was unaware of any officers being tested for coronavirus.

“It’s our temporary policy for officers to immediately report any concerns to their supervisor whether they’re at work or home,” he said.

Reserve officers were assigned to handle duties covered by those self-quarantined, and shifts remained at full strength throughout the absences, Cpl. Hoffman said.

Also, police said one officer is assigned to handle a case whenever possible to limit the number of contacts with the public.

Dover PD is stocked with masks and gloves, sanitizer and sanitizer wipes but “we’re looking for more,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

Officers are required to sanitize vehicles at the end of shifts and have access to gloves and masks when needed, police said.

“We encourage the use of (personal protection equipment), which is provided and available inside and outside of the station,” Cpl. Hoffman said.

To address non-emergency complaints, Dover PD is utilizing online crime reporting at doverpolice.org and via the phone at 736-7111.

In Georgetown, Detective Melvin said officers have been issued N95 masks, eye protection, gloves and hand sanitizer.

Also, he said, officers “have surgical masks at their disposal to place on the face of detainees/prisoners. The surgical mask is to be worn by the detainees while in transport or in our detention area.

“Our police officers are aware of the CDC guidelines about hand washing and social distancing and try to comply with recommendations.

“We continue to respond to calls for service and provide competent professional police services to our community.”


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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