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St. Petersburg police employee tests positive for coronavirus

The employee works in the St. Petersburg Police Department’s emergency communications center.
A St. Petersburg Police Department employee tested positive for coronavirus. The employee worked in the agency's Emergency Communications Center, shown in this photo taken last year. [SHADD, DIRK | Tampa Bay Times]

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ST. PETERSBURG — A civilian employee of the St. Petersburg Police Department tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.

The employee works in the agency’s emergency communications center, according to the agency.

The worker, who the department is not naming due to health privacy regulations, returned to work after an out-of-town trip on March 16. He stayed home sick March 18 with coronavirus symptoms, the department said. After he called in sick, maintenance crews started sanitizing the communications center multiple times a day and have continued since.

Related: Tampa police officer tests positive for coronavirus; dozens have self-quarantined

Four employees who may have had contact with their sick colleague are self-quarantining at home, the department said. A St. Anthony’s Hospital volunteer is taking the temperatures of police employees twice a day. Hand sanitizing stations have been placed on each floor of police headquarters.

“As front-line employees, who are expected to sacrifice more than the average worker, your health remains my number one priority,” Police Chief Tony Holloway wrote in a memo to employees. “We, as an organization, are committed to ensuring you are provided with a safe and healthy environment in which to work.”

St. Petersburg’s police call center employs 77 people who handle 911 and non-emergency calls. The center is large enough that employees can spread out to maintain social distancing requirements, according to the department.

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