JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle Police self-quarantine after coronavirus exposure, building shut down

Mar 17, 2020, 7:44 AM | Updated: 4:06 pm
Seattle Police, coronavirus...
Seattle police at a demonstration in 2020. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

A janitor at a facility used by the Seattle Police tested positive for the coronavirus. She has been “actively ill within the last ten days” according to an email memo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show.

Now, there’s fear that officers may have been exposed. Up to five officers are in self-isolation, though none are showing symptoms.

Park 90/5 is home to a series of buildings the Seattle Police Department uses for a variety of purposes, including training, and recently, mask fittings for officers to protect against COVID-19. It’s also home to SWAT, traffic, and parking enforcement.

Update: cops on quarantine.

Up to five officers are in self-quarantine based on city guidelines, though none have shown symptoms, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The source tells me the officers were not originally offered tests because they’re asymptomatic.

These officers will be screened by a doctor that the city has procured. The screening is currently taking place.

Additional testing for other officers from the building will also be conducted to see  if further isolation is necessary, according to SPD, though they could not confirm how many officers are on self-quarantine.

An outbreak among officers could have significant repercussions to a department already struggling with low staffing levels.

‘Great concern’ over coronavirus exposure

Late Monday night, SPD Executive Director Human Resources Mike Fields sent an email memo about the possible exposure to COVID-19.

“Understandably this will cause great concern for those who work at that facility,” Fields wrote. “Please know that every effort is being made to mitigate the effect of this event on department personnel.”

Fields explained that the facility would be closed “temporarily so that a thorough cleaning and disinfecting can take place.”

The cleaning is a precaution, with Fields telling officers “we will not be taking any chances.” Fields noted that it’s unlikely that the building is currently hazardous.

Rantz: Coronavirus quarantines are starting — is Seattle next?

The reality.

Coronavirus is easily transmittable and cops I’ve spoken to assume many have been exposed already. They’re making the same assumptions as public health officials make about the general public. And while most cops are healthy and may not even feel signs of coronavirus, prolonged exposure to someone in an at-risk demographic (elderly, immune compromised) could be dangerous.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter.

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Rantz: Seattle Police self-quarantine after coronavirus exposure, building shut down