Boston police officer, EMS worker test positive for COVID-19, departments confirm

BOSTON — Boston Police and Boston EMS confirm one person from each department has tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Monday morning, Boston EMS officials said one of their workers tested positive for COVID-19. That follows Sunday’s announcement that a Boston Police officer tested positive and is quarantined at home. Officials said the officer’s work area has been thoroughly sanitized.

Boston EMS officials confirmed one of their workers tested positive for COVID-19 and released the following statement:

The health and safety of our personnel and patients is the utmost priority. In coordination with our public health partners, Boston EMS is adhering to the guidance from the Boston Public Health Commission. Our member is doing well and recovering at home. As such is the case with our patients, we ask for the respect for Boston EMS personnel’s privacy.

—  Boston EMS

Police officers and first responders can’t work from home like most people right now. But they are still implementing many precautions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among the departments and to the public.

Norwood Police chief Bill Brooks said, “People think the police are slow to adapt, we’re not, we can spin on a dime.”

“We’ve changed everything we’ve done just over the last 10 days, really day by day by day."

Brooks said since the coronavirus outbreak, every officer wipes down their patrol car before their shift. They also no longer conduct their daily roll calls in person, saying they do that virtually through their phones.

"Before the officer gets to work he knows where he’s going to drive, what sector he’s going to work and that sort of thing.”

Brooks said that all officers practice social distancing, not only at the station, but also when they’re on a call and need to be in contact with the public.

“Lots of times if we get a radio call to a home, we’re going to ask those people if we can talk to them outside instead of us going inside the home,” Brooks said.

“People who get pulled over for a traffic infraction, we’ve always been a department that’s done it on the right side of the car, right-side stops, and that provides some distance anyway.”

He said radio calls to homes have dropped 60 percent in the past few weeks, saying there’s fewer people out, fewer crashes and confrontations.

Brooks said that, when COVID-19 does pass, his department will likely continue some of the new practices.