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Santa Barbara City Police Department spokesperson Antony Wagner confirmed the first incidence of a police officer testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. That officer, who was reporting flu-like symptoms, lives out of the county and has been recovering at their residence since March 12.
Two other officers with whom “Officer Number One” came into contact, have been tested. Both tests have come back negative.
Police officers and firefighters are deemed high-risk public safety personnel when it comes to infection. Personnel in both agencies are taking safety precautions when engaging with individuals who might be infected.
For example, two officers were seen on State Street Wednesday morning wearing protective eye goggles, N-95 respirator masks, and gloves when responding to complaints about a well-known street person. City firefighters respond to about 20 to 30 medical calls for service a day; their counterparts at the County of Santa Barbara Fire Department respond to another 40 to 50 a day.
Employees of police and fire agencies have adopted a daily screening protocol designed to minimize risk of infection and contagion. All police and fire employees are required to enter through a designated doorway upon coming, where their temperatures are taken and they fill out questionaires about any medical symptoms they experienced consistent with COVID-19.
At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor. Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.