Fifteen Portland Police Bureau Staff Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 Since Spring, and 40 Have Quarantined

The most recent case among Police Bureau staff was reported on Friday, Dec. 4.

Fifteen members of the Portland Police Bureau have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and another 40 have quarantined, according to PPB spokesman Sgt. Brad Yakots.

The majority of cases are sworn officers, Yakots says. Some of the 15—though it is unclear how many—are non-sworn staff members.

PPB learned of the first positive case in late April or early May, Yakots says, and the bureau has steadily learned of one new case every few weeks since then.

PPB released the numbers of COVID cases in response to an inquiry from WW.

Yakots says the most recent case among Police Bureau staff was reported on Friday, Dec. 4.

“We have not had a superspread case in the bureau,” Yakots adds. “We are comfortable saying we have not had a member who had tested positive for COVID infect another member.”

According to the bureau's contact tracing, Yakots says, the majority of COVID-19 cases stem from off-duty incidents, and the bureau is not aware of any PPB member infecting another.

Sixteen PPB staff are currently in quarantine, Yakots says.

Forty PPB staff—sworn and non-sworn—have quarantined because of the virus, Yakots says, adding that they have done so for a variety of reasons: They may have come into contact with an infected person, or they may be feeling ill, or a loved one is showing symptoms. Those quarantining are doing so for both on-duty and off-duty potential exposure.

"Out of the 1,130 members, we only have 40 that [have quarantined] for whatever reason," Yakots says.

PPB cases have not shown up on the Oregon Health Authority's weekly report, which tracks workplace outbreaks of five or more cases.

It is unclear exactly why the cases haven't appeared on the report. Yakots says it may be because the cases are so spaced out that there has not been a period where five or more PPB staff had COVID at the same time.

In other words, despite being a public agency with 15 confirmed cases, the Police Bureau's COVID cases may not reach the state's threshold for reporting workplace outbreaks.

"If you haven't seen a workplace in our weekly report, it may be that it doesn't fit the above criteria," says Delia Hernández, a spokeswoman for OHA.

Correction: The Police Bureau incorrectly stated that 40 of its staff are currently quarantining. In fact, 16 are currently quarantining, and 40 have done so since the pandemic began. 

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