Police chief releases details about outbreak at station

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Claremont Police Chief Shelly Vander Veen issued a statement on Saturday providing further details on the coronavirus outbreak at the police department.

“The men and woman of the Claremont Police Department work 24/7 to provide critical and essential services to our community. Working in consultation with the County and State, we established safety protocols to minimize the possible spread of COVID-19 which we have been adhering to since March. Unfortunately, several members of our department have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. These employees and employees in contact with them have been tested and quarantined. We are focused on the health and safety of our employees while we continue to protect and serve our community,” said Chief Shelly Vander Veen.

According to the chief, two dispatchers developed flu-like symptoms 10 days ago and subsequently tested positive for the virus. During that same timeframe a police officer also felt ill and tested positive.

After identifying the outbreak, which is defined as three or more cases in an institutional setting, police officials directed all appropriate administrative staff to telecommute to minimize contact with other employees, and notified the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“Claremont Police Department employees who were potentially exposed to the staff members are being quarantined and tested,” chief Vander Veen said.

That round of testing revealed two additional cases, a records clerk and another police officer.

The chief also reported that over a month ago an officer tested positive, so the total number of positive cases at CPD since the beginning of the pandemic stands at six.

Since March, the police department has been following several protocols to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. These precautionary steps include: daily temperature and infection checks on all personnel prior to reporting to work; staggered schedules; telecommuting for the detective bureau; restricted access to police facilities including limiting access based on assignment; procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment; increased cleaning of station including the jail; adopting a policy requiring face coverings and social distancing; and meetings via video conferencing and phone reporting.


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