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Indiana Daily Student

4 BPD dispatch, 1 sanitation worker test positive for COVID-19 

Four Bloomington Police Department dispatch workers and one Sanitation Division employee received positive COVID-19 test results Sunday and Monday. This brings the number of municipal employee cases to 22 since March.

All five employees are self-isolating and are on paid leave, according to press releases from the city. Their departments have identified and notified coworkers who were close contacts of the employees and have disinfected equipment, vehicles and facilities the employee may have had contact with.

The police dispatch center temporarily closed for professional disinfection, during which time the department continued to provide emergency dispatching services through its contingency plan. Staff returned to the dispatch center Monday night, where protocols include temperature checks at the entrance, reinforcement of physical distancing and face covering and regular disinfection of work stations.

City officials don’t believe the public was at risk of exposure from these employees because their jobs don’t interact with the public, according to a release. The BPD employees are not patrol officers.

The first police dispatch employee began experiencing symptoms and self-quarantining Nov. 9 and got tested Nov. 13, according to a release. The second dispatch employee began experiencing symptoms and self-quarantining Nov. 10 and got tested Nov. 11.

The third and fourth dispatch employees began experiencing symptoms Nov. 12 and Nov. 15, respectively, according to a release. They were identified as close contacts of the dispatch employee whose symptoms appeared Nov. 9.

The first time a BPD dispatch worker received a positive COVID-19 test result was in early October.

The sanitation employee began experiencing symptoms and started self-quarantining Nov. 10 and got tested Nov. 12, according to a release. This is the first employee in the Public Works Department to test positive for the virus.

These new city employees’ cases within one week, the rising COVID-19 numbers at the state and county levels and the risk of increased transmission over the upcoming holidays have prompted the city’s Continuity of City Government group to evaluate protocols and consider new guidelines that will protect employees’ health while continuing to provide services to residents, according to a release.

City firefighters, a Bloomington Transit bus driver and employees in the Utilities and Parks and Recreation departments have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March.

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