(BLOOMINGTON) – Two employees of the Bloomington Police Department (BPD) who work in the Central Emergency Dispatch Center received positive results of COVID-19 viral tests Monday afternoon, November 16. These employees were identified as possible close contacts of one of the two dispatch employees who received positive COVID-19 results Monday morning. In total, four dispatch workers have received positive COVID-19 results this week.
The first dispatch employee to receive a positive result Monday afternoon has been in quarantine since first experiencing symptoms Thursday, November 12; the second, since first experiencing symptoms Sunday, November 15. Also per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols, both are currently self-isolating, and on paid leave.
The department has notified coworkers who were close contacts per CDC guidelines that they may have been placed at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through these employees. The employees, however, do not have interactions in the course of their work that would place members of the public at risk of exposure. The incidence of four new COVID-19 cases within the dispatch center within one week prompted a temporary closure of the facility for professional disinfection, during which time the department continued to provide emergency dispatching services through its contingency plan. Staff returned to the facility Monday night, where protocols include temperature checks at the entrance, reinforcement of physical distancing and face covering, and regular disinfection of work stations.
Currently, the center has sufficient staff to cover minimum staffing requirements. Owing to a long established partnership with the Indiana University Police Department, the BPD maintains a contingency plan that could be launched should the daily operations of the Central Emergency Dispatch Center be affected by temporary staffing shortages resulting from COVID-related absences. Additionally, the City’s Continuity of City Government group is currently re-evaluating City-wide protocols to determine how best to allow the City to continue delivering services while protecting the health of employees and the greater community.
Today’s announcement marks the 21st and 22nd COVID-19 diagnoses among City workers since the start of the pandemic, including those employed by Utilities and Bloomington Transit. An additional City employee reported a positive COVID-19 antibody test result.
The City of Bloomington is committed to sharing information about how its operations and workforce are affected by this public health emergency, and will continue to provide updates about confirmed cases among staff while protecting employees’ privacy.