ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Chief Mary Barton said her department has reached an "undesirable milestone" as the number of coronavirus cases to hit police personnel surpassed 100 Thursday.
In the past three days, six members of the department have tested positive for COVID-19.
5 On Your Side reported Monday that the department saw its largest jump in coronavirus cases in November, after having ended the month of October at just 46 cases.
That's about a 122% increase in just the past 30 days or so.
The latest group to test positive includes police officers and professional staff members in three precincts and the Division of Criminal Investigations. One person contracted the virus outside of work, and the department does not know how the others contracted it, according to a press release from the department.
The new cases bring the department’s total to 102 positive test results since the pandemic hit the department on March 28. So far, 81 of the 102 have returned to duty.
“In that same time, members of our department have responded to or initiated over 350,000 calls for service and no call has gone unanswered,” Barton wrote. “Those that are testing positive are following the recommended guidelines and returning to service quickly, but safely.
“It is a testament of their dedication to serve. It is with great pride and gratitude that I serve alongside the men and women of this department.”
After a diagnosis, employees are quarantined from 10-14 days depending on their symptoms, according to a department spokesperson. The department follows the guidelines outlined by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The St. Louis police department is also grappling with a surge in cases, although the department and the city's health department are not releasing much information about it citing privacy concerns.