Two local public safety agencies on March 16 announced temporary changes that are designed to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Elk Grove police and the Cosumnes fire departments said they are following the state’s new guidelines to protect the public health.
As of press time, there are 40 confirmed coronavirus cases and two deaths in Sacramento County, according to the county’s public health officials.
The Elk Grove Police Department
Elk Grove police officials stated they are holding daily meetings to review their department’s day-to-day operations during the COVID-19 situation.
“We will continue to provide professional, timely, and essential services to our residents,” the police staff said in a social media statement.
They said that their police service center at Laguna Palms Way will remain open to the public. The police also encourage residents to use their website at www.ElkGrovePD.org to report crime incidents.
The police temporarily suspended their volunteer service, police ride-along, and Explorer programs.
Citizens who suffer from fever, respiratory problems, or flulike symptoms are advised to notify police dispatchers about their health issues when they request police services. Officers will also practice social distancing methods in their interactions with the public.
Elk Grove Assistant Police Chief Bobby Davis told the Citizen that the police staff is cleaning themselves and their building more often in order to prevent COVID-19 infections. He said that officers who feel sick will be told to stay home until they recover.
“We want to make sure they’re home and they’re healthy,” Davis said. “If the symptoms go away, they can come back to work.”
He said that the police have enough personnel to backfill a position if a police employee is told to stay home.
The Cosumnes Fire Department
The Cosumnes Fire Department, which serves the Elk Grove and Galt communities, decided to close their headquarters and all of their fire stations to the public. They said that the fire staff can still be contacted at (916) 405-7100.
Cosumnes Fire Chief Mike McLaughlin said that his staff has been preparing for the coronavirus situation since it arose.
“The key for us is prevention and really the key for everybody in our community is prevention – it comes to good hygiene and staying out of people’s personal space,” he told the Citizen.
The fire chief said that the Cosumnes fire and emergency medical staff will wear respiratory protections such as glasses, masks, and gowns if they are handling a COVID-19 case or a suspected one. He noted that the fire staff routinely follows that safety method when they handle patients with infectious aliments.
“It’s not necessarily different than what we do a lot of the time,” McLaughlin said. “But we’re more vigilant based off the pandemic nature of (COVID-19).”
He noted that the fire department has an infection control officer who ensures that the fire staff is properly equipped with protective gear. This officer will also work to have employees tested and treated if they have been exposed to a virus, McLaughlin said.
Brenda Bongiorno, a spokesperson for Sacramento County’s health services, told the Citizen that the county’s public health staff has triaged their COVID-19 testing. She said that hospitalized patients, health care workers, firefighters, paramedics, and assisted living home employees are included in that testing triage.
“However, to manage resources efficiently and to protect health confidentiality, Sacramento County Public Health will not release information about residents in quarantine, under investigation or the subsequent testing,” she said.