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Three Parkersburg Police Department employees test positive for virus

PARKERSBURG — Two Parkersburg Police officers and a civilian employee of the department have tested positive for COVID-19.

The city was notified of the test results Thursday afternoon, Mayor Tom Joyce said. The officers, both of whom work in the Detective Bureau, and civilian employee “are currently off work,” he said.

An updated total for positive COVID-19 cases in Wood County was not immediately available. The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department had been notified of and was working to confirm multiple cases Friday, Public Information Officer Carrie Brainard said.

Because they are considered essential employees, the officers were able to continue working after it was known they might have been exposed to the virus, Brainard said.

“They could still come to work as long as they weren’t showing symptoms,” she said.

They also had to follow guidelines that included screening of their temperature and presence of symptoms before starting work, self-monitoring for symptoms, wearing a mask, social distancing and cleaning and disinfecting common workspaces.

“When symptoms developed, the officers were placed in isolation,” the release says.

It was not immediately clear how many of the individuals developed symptoms or whether they were placed in isolation before or after the results were received. Brainard said CDC guidelines allow essential workers to continue working if they are asymptomatic and following guidelines.

Whether the officers were exposed to the virus on the job or outside of the work environment is under investigation, Brainard said.

“When we have someone that tests positive, then we try to discern all the people they’ve been in contact with,” she said.

The department lets those individuals know they have been exposed to the virus and recommends that they be tested, Brainard said.

Joyce pointed out that city police officers have logged 39,250 hours since March, when the virus’ spread was growing, without a positive test and commended their efforts.

“We’ve been using masks and encouraging social distancing” since March, he said. “The building’s never been cleaner.”

“Now that we have positive tests, we’re dealing with them accordingly” under Health Department and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Joyce said.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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