Update from Santa Rosa Police Chief Rainer Navarro
Re: Two additional SRPD employees who have tested positive for COVID-19
Today, the Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) received confirmation that two more police officers have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total case count to five cases.
A total of 20 COVID-19 tests have been administered to Police Department staff. Of those tested, four employees have tested negative, 11 test results are pending and results on those tests are expected early next week.
Previously, on March 24, the Santa Rosa Police Department reported that two police officers tested positive for COVID-19. Shortly after, also on March 24th, a third officer tested positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 testing guidelines for Sonoma County do already prioritize first responders, including law enforcement, given their essential and vital service role in the community. The Santa Rosa Police Department is now taking efforts a step further and is working with the Sonoma County Public Health Officer to initiate testing of more police department staff, specifically those who may have come into contact with the affected individuals. This measure will help the Police Department to prevent further potential spread and get a better understanding of potential additional impacts to the organization. Transparency continues to be a department priority, and as test results become available, that information will be shared with the public.
The Sonoma County Health Department has a robust process for contact investigation of cases of COVID-19. Public health nurses contact each case and conducts a detailed interview. Contacts of cases are notified of potential exposure and advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and report any symptoms to their health care provider and Sonoma County Disease Control.
The County Shelter in Place Order has been in place for a week and a half and based on some of the contact investigation work that has been done thus far, it is believed that contact for some of the cases within the Police Department may have happened prior to the County Public Health Order being issued.
The Santa Rosa Police Department continues to operate under strict sanitization and social distancing protocols and will take additional precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Department is proactively and massively overhauling scheduling for patrol teams. Officers will now be assigned either day or night shift, for a two-week period, then self-isolate for the following two weeks. Meanwhile a second set of officers will work either a day or night shift for a two-week period, and so on. This scheduling model is an industry best practice for public safety work.
In addition to these new work schedule measures, the department continues to limit contact between employees at work and reduce the sharing of department vehicles.
Despite these drastic precautions and safety measures, the Santa Rosa Police Department will continue to provide essential services to the community and respond to priority and emergency calls for service.