Cornwall Borough police officer tests positive for coronavirus

A police officer in Cornwall has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the borough announced Thursday.

Borough manager Cody Rhoads said the officer last worked on Friday, March 27, and was tested for COVID-19 after going to a hospital with symptoms over the weekend. The positive result was confirmed on Wednesday, Rhoads said, and the officer has been quarantined since getting the test. 

The officer is not in the hospital, Rhoads said. 

No other officers have shown symptoms, Rhoads said, but another who used the same vehicle as the person who tested positive is quarantining. The department had hoped to get tests for all officers, Rhoads said, but was told they would only be able to test anyone who showed symptoms. 

The department is undergoing a deep cleaning, Rhoads said, as are the department’s vehicles. Officers will each be assigned their own squad car, rather than switching them around each shift. 

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The department has contacted people who might have come into contact with the officer in recent weeks, Rhoads said, and will continue to follow other safety protocols, such as limiting contact with people as much as possible and keeping their office closed to the public. 

Rhoads said he hopes residents are taking COVID-19 seriously. There are 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lebanon County as of midday Thursday, according to the state Department of Health, and over 7,016 cases and 90 deaths statewide. 

“Obviously now it kind of hits home for our community a little bit,” Rhoads said. 

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County police prepare for officer shortages

Police coverage for Cornwall, West Cornwall and Mt. Gretna will continue, according to a news release. 

Last month, police departments in Lebanon County, along with state police and the district attorney, signed a mutual aid agreement which gives them all countywide jurisdiction in case any departments experience officer shortages due to the new coronavirus. 

Police departments have closed their offices to the public and many have said they will not go out to respond to some calls in person but would handle them over the phone instead.

Rhoads said the Cornwall Police Department will continue following those procedures. 

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