Parachute police officer tests positive for COVID-19

Post Independent Parachute news graphic

A Parachute Police Department officer has tested positive for COVID-19, Town Manager Stuart McArthur said Wednesday, but the community’s other officers continue to serve the public.

The Parachute Police Department have gloves and N95 masks as personal protective equipment, McArthur said, and they continue to respond to calls.

“The town of Parachute is trying to inform the community as much as possible. We have closed town hall, requesting that everyone use the safe distancing and sheltering in place.

“We encourage people to be as safe as they possibly can. If they need something from the town, please call. We’re here to help,” McArthur said.

Most municipal services are temporarily closed or suspended, or staff is working remotely. Parachute’s public works staff are still working, as is the town manager and financial director.

“Right now, the only people who are working at the town are essential services,” McArthur said.

The positive test result for the Parachute officer was returned earlier this week. The officer who tested positive was not symptomatic when last on the force, McArthur said.

“My understanding from the police chief is that (the officer who tested positive) was not exhibiting any symptoms,” McArthur said.

If someone is not exhibiting symptoms, the risk of exposure to others is lower, county health officials explained.

“Regarding asymptomatic transmission, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” the Garfield County Public Health Department said in a statement.

Parachute police have not requested additional patrol officers from local law enforcement agencies, but that is an option through the mutual aid arrangement between local agencies, McArthur said.

Due to medical privacy laws, further information about the positive COVID-19 case was not available.

Garfield County has 16 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The state health department is counting cases where patients with COVID-19 symptoms and contact with other confirmed cases as positive, even if there hasn’t been a formal test done by the state.

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