Coronavirus: Toronto police civilian tests positive for COVID-19, all stations closing to public

“As of March 18, 2020, we are aware of one civilian member who has tested positive for COVID-19 and we have been actively working with the appropriate public health authorities who are conducting an in-depth investigation related to the individual and their contacts,” Meaghan Gray, a Toronto police spokesperson, told Global News in a statement Wednesday evening.

“This member does not work in a public-facing role within the service. All proper notifications were made and immediate steps were taken.”

Gray said those who work in close proximity to the staff member were advised and were encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms of coronavirus.

“Enhanced cleaning measures, such as additional surface cleaning in frequently accessed areas, will be undertaken as has been recommended by public health officials,” she wrote.

“We continue to strongly advise our members to continue following the advice of Toronto Public Health and implement social distancing, engage in frequent hand-washing with soap, and practice self-isolation, as advised by authorities.”

Following similar measures taken at other local services such as York Regional Police and Peel Regional Police, Toronto police announced it closed all of its stations and facilities to the public Wednesday afternoon.

“Emergency calls for service, those involving an immediate threat to life or property, will be responded to. Non-emergency incidents can be reported to ‪416-808-2222 and many incidents can be reported using our online reporting system.”

Criminal record checks were required to be submitted online. Gray said vulnerable sector screenings and fingerprinting could be arranged under “exigent circumstances” by calling 416-808-8244.

She went on to say as of Wednesday, there haven’t been any changes to policing operations. Gray noted a crisis contingency plan was put into place before COVID-19.

“These plans include repurposing of resources, modifying members’ shifts, and adjusting our service delivery model. All of these steps would allow us to maintain public safety and respond to emergency calls,” she said, noting the plan hasn’t been enacted to date.

The news came on the same day as the service announced parking enforcement was being suspended for several offences, including on-street time limits and on-street permit parking, unless there are “significant” traffic and/or community safety concerns.

Officers said all other parking offences will still be enforced, including no stopping and no standing areas, rush hour routes as well as metered parking spots.

As of Wednesday evening, there were 214 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.

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