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Rockford Police Department changes safety measures after officer tests positive for COVID-19

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – The Rockford Police Department is changing some of its safety measures after an officer tests positive for COVID-19.

Officers will now wear N95 masks and rubber gloves on all calls for service and when in contact with the general public closer than six feet. They will also have the option to wear goggles and have their temperatures taken at the beginning of every shift.

The department was notified Friday that the officer was infected with coronavirus disease.

“Our people are our best asset, and we will do anything and everything we can to keep them safe,” Police Chief Dan O’Shea said.

The officer is self-isolating at home and is reportedly doing well.

Police say the department continues to work closely with the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center and follows Center for Disease
Control and Preventions (CDC) recommendations as standard operating procedure.

“The health and safety or our first responders and all City employees are of the utmost importance,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said. “As the situation continues to evolve, we will continue to implement further practices to help protect all of our employees and the community.”

The announcement is the second protocol-related change within Rockford’s public-safety ranks. The fire department announced last month that 911 dispatchers will now instruct some callers to wait for ambulances outside their homes.

There are currently 42 positive cases of COVID-19 in Winnebago County. As of Saturday, April 4, there are 10,357 confirmed cases statewide. There have been 243 deaths, including a local man.

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