10% of Pittsburgh’s police force quarantined after officers, firefighters, paramedics test positive for COVID-19

PITTSBURGH — Ten percent of Pittsburgh’s police department has been forced to quarantine after officers, firefighters and paramedics tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department of Public Safety is dealing with a total of 21 positive coronavirus cases across fire, EMS and police. A number of first responders are in self quarantine because of possible exposure.

There are nine Pittsburgh police officers who tested positive for COVID-19 and because of possible exposure, between 90 and 130 police officers are now at home in quarantine.

Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich just told Channel 11′s Rick Earle that he’s concerned about that number but believes the police department can manage it. He said there will be no drop off in service and response, but if the number grows to 20 or 25% of the police bureau, they may have to make changes.

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“We may have to begin working extra hours, police may reinstitute the 12 hours shifts, may involve taking days off of individuals and we certainly don’t want to do that. But if need be we are ready to do that,” Hissrich said. “All public safety are screened when they start work. Some are screened throughout the day.”

He said all of the first responders are following mandatory safety protocols like wearing masks and limiting personnel on scene. He does not believe any of the positive cases occurred on the job.

Nine firefighters and three paramedics have tested positive as well. 37 firefighters and 13 EMS personnel are in quarantine. All are recovering at home, but a firefighter remains in the hospital.