Nineteen Boston police officers and three civilian employees of the department have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a department spokesman said Monday.
The officers and staff members work at different sites around the city, and there is no clear connection between the cases, said Sergeant Detective John Boyle, the spokesman.
All of the infected personnel are off-duty as they recover, Boyle said, and the department is taking extra precautions in an attempt to halt the virus’s spread.
“A couple of stations have received deep cleanings,” he said by phone Monday. “We continue to clean and follow all the guidelines.”
The department remains fully staffed, and patrols are at normal levels, Boyle said.
“The residents of the city of Boston can feel safe knowing the police are out there working, and our staffing levels are safe,” Boyle said, adding that the department is prepared to reassign officers to different neighborhoods if necessary to maintain appropriate staffing levels.
Boyle said Boston residents can help support the department by observing advisories to stay home as much as possible and to practice social distancing to limit potential exposure to the virus.
He encouraged residents to call 911 for any matter needing police attention and said 911 operators are increasingly working to resolve matters over the phone when possible, for the safety of both residents and officers.
“A lot of people are afraid to call 911,″ Boyle said. “We encourage anyone who needs police assistance to call 911.”
The Boston Police Department learned of its first officer to test positive for the virus on March 21. By March 25, four officers were confirmed to have the virus, police said at the time. Those cases are included in the totals the department released Monday.
Police Commissioner William Gross announced March 26 that the department had begun staggering shifts, limiting contact between officers and suspects, holding roll calls outside when possible, and telling officers to complete reports in places where they can maintain social distancing.