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Multiple IMPD officers, IFD firefighters & Marion Co. Sheriff employees test positive for COVID-19

IMPD Cruiser
Posted at 9:53 AM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 13:04:56-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Marion County Sheriff's office have all had multiple employees test positive for the coronavirus COVID-19.

IMPD Chief Communications Officer Aliya Wishner says officers are sent for testing after they are exposed to a possible case of COVID-19.

"Thanks to both Eli Lilly & Co. and Public Safety Medical and Ascension, IMPD officers, IFD Firefighters, and first responders from our partner public safety agencies now have access to two free, drive-thru resources for COVID-19 testing," Wishner said. "This free testing allows us to help reduce exposure between first responders working in close proximity and the community members they interact with. The protocol is designed to keep our workforce healthy and able to serve."

So far, 12 officers have tested positive for COVID-19. Those officers are self-quarantined at home and are being monitored for any additional symptoms, Wishner said. There have also been 26 officers who tested negative for the virus.

READ | 49 Hoosiers have died and over 2,100 now confirmed to have COVID-19

"IMPD will continue to monitor the health of our first responders and will act swiftly when symptoms of the virus are exhibited."

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has more than 1,600 active officers.

This news from IMPD comes just one day after the Indianapolis Fire Department said nine of its firefighters tested positive for COVID-19. That number was raised on Tuesday as the department reported two additional cases among firefighters. All 11 firefighters are in home quarantine and will not return to work until they have been medically cleared by a doctor.

It is unclear if their positive diagnosis is connected, since they do not work at the same station.

"The firefighters on their apparatus or in their station, that may have had close contact with the firefighter who tested positive, are utilizing the Eli Lilly & Co. testing program," Reith said. "For those tested, once those results are received, IFD will take appropriate measures in consultation with public health officials."

The Indianapolis Fire Department has more than 1,200 firefighters at 43 stations.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office is also reporting five confirmed cases among their employees including two courthouse deputies, one jail deputy and two jail employees.

"There are no Marion County Jail inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, and no inmates are currently being held in isolation for suspected cases, nor for suspected contact with persons known to test positive for COVID-19," Katie Carlson, PIO for the Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a release sent out Tuesday. "The Marion Superior Courts have been working with the Prosecutor’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office to lower the Jail population."

In addition to those steps, the following new measures are also being taken at the county jail:

  • The Jail is closed to ALL outside non-employee visitors.
  • Jail Division employees are receiving a medical screening immediately prior to beginning their shift.

Wishner says Hoosiers can help keep emergency responders safe during these trying times by practicing social distancing and being forthcoming with any health issues anyone in your home may be experiencing when you call to make a report for something that is not an emergency.

"The biggest help we can ask of anyone calling 9-1-1 is to be forthright with the dispatcher about any flu-like issues they, or any member of their family, may be experiencing – even if the dispatcher does not ask specifically," Wishner said. "Public safety agencies have encountered multiple instances where first responders have been called on a non-medical call, only to be told after they’ve arrived that a member of the family is sick with flu-like symptoms."

The department also suggests meeting the officer at the door or on the front porch, if you are able, to allow for a quick assessment in an open area — which can help reduce the risk of unnecessary exposure.

"We are doing everything we can to help keep our entire first responder population healthy so that we can ensure a consistent level of response for all types of runs we may get," Wishner said. "We appreciate the cooperation that residents of Indianapolis have shown thus far."