Lake City police officer who showed no symptoms tests positive for COVID-19, department says

Four additional members of the department have also been tested and are waiting for results

Lake City Police Department
Lake City Police Department (Google Maps)

LAKE CITY, Fla. – A Lake City Police Department officer has tested positive for COVID-19, the department announced Saturday evening.

The officer, who had not shown any symptoms of the novel coronavirus, tested positive on Friday and is now in isolation at home and is in good condition, according to LCPD.

The officer, who was not identified, has not transported any prisoners or had any prolonged direct contact with any members of the public in the last two weeks, according to the department. Four additional members of the department have also been tested and are awaiting results. They will self-isolate at home until the results are available.

“First and foremost, I am saddened to confirm COVID-19 has hit the Lake City Police Department family, and our thoughts are with our officer for a full recovery and a quick return to public service,” LCPD Chief Argatha Gilmore said in a press release.

The department said Saturday that enhanced self-monitoring at the department, including daily temperature checks, will begin immediately.

Since the positive test, several conference calls have been held to screen other employees and their families and give them advice moving forward.

“Our department has been proactive in taking as many precautions as possible to reduce exposure for our officers and the public, and we will continue to do so," Gilmore said. "We have worked tirelessly to prepare in the event that one of our employees tested positive. I want to reassure the community that we remain fully operational and able to deliver responsive public safety services.”

Social distancing protocols have been in place for weeks, which has helped limit contact between officers while working and patrol shift briefings were moved outdoors with officers standing at least 6 feet apart, according to LCPD.

Officers have also been provided with personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, to wear when they come in close contact with members of the public and medical-grade sprays are used to deep clean and sanitize the back seat of all patrol cars after arrests.

Many calls for service, which would normally be handled in-person as a matter of customer service, have been handled by phone instead, the department said.

On Friday, LCPD rolled out online reporting to further limit unnecessary contact between officers and members of the public.

“This also serves as a reminder why CDC Guidelines are so important. This officer showed no symptoms, and had the officer not volunteered for a precautionary test, would not have even known,” Gilmore said. “While certain activities might be deemed as essential, please keep this in mind when you decide to leave your home whether it is something you truly need.”

As of Saturday at 6 p.m., there were 10 total reported cases of novel coronavirus in Columbia County and more than 11,500 reported cases in the state.