A police force in one of Westchester's largest towns has been especially hit hard by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with some 20 employees testing positive, including the chief.
Town of Greenburgh Police, made up of 112 officers, have battled the virus right along with residents with 20 of 54 officers, EMS, and general personnel testing positive for COVID-19, said Greenburgh Police Lt. Kobie Powell.
But the department is still up and running and ready to protect residents, Powell said.
Chief of Police Bryan Ryan himself tested positive and worked from home as he battled what was reportedly "mild" symptoms.
Powell said the department has been able to continue to offer coverage to residents and keep everyone safe.
But it is a different world today for the first responders, Powell said.
"Nothing is normal," he added.
For instance, when the lieutenant began his career and received a call for an elderly person having trouble breathing, he would respond with oxygen without a thought. Now, he said he would be wearing a mask and protective gear before entering the home.
Today, police dispatchers have a list of questions they ask 911 callers as a type of pre-screen for any COVID-19 symptoms so officers can be prepared.
Powell said some officers who were ill have returned to work, while others are still out sick because the department has been dealing with the positive results in staggered periods for weeks.
"It's not like all 20 tested positive at one time," he said.
If an officer or EMS personnel believes they have been exposed or are feeling ill, they are sent for testing immediately.
In addition, the entire building and vehicles have been sanitized several times to help reduce exposure.
"We have been able to maintain our responsibility to the community despite the number of employees testing positive," he said.
And, most importantly, residents do not need to worry that help won't be available when needed.
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