CPS applauded for handling of COVID-19 quarantine

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By Nick Seebruch
CPS applauded for handling of COVID-19 quarantine
S/Sgt. George Knezevic demonstrates the protective equipment used by the officers who monitored the COVID-19 quarantine at the Nav Centre during a Police Board meeting on Thursday, March 5, 2020 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Police Services Board applauded the efforts of the Cornwall Police Service (CPS) for their handling of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) quarantine at the Nav Centre.

At their meeting on Thursday, March 5, the Board heard a presentation from S/Sgt. George Knezevic during which he explained CPS’ involvement in the COVID-19 quarantine at the Nav Centre.

On Feb. 22, 129 Canadian passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were brought to the Nav Centre in Cornwall for a precautionary 14 day quarantine.

RELATED: Public updated on upcoming quarantine at Nav Centre

The Diamond Princess had experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 with hundreds of passengers infected. All of the repatriated Canadians were screened for COVID-19 prior to leaving Japan, and again once they arrived in Canada. The quarantine is scheduled to end on Friday, March 6 and thus far, none of the patients have tested positive for COVID-19.

The role of the CPS during the course of the quarantine was to enforce all federal and provincial statues within the quarantine zone, enforce the Quarantine Act, and ensure public safety.

Officers who entered the quarantine zone were given N95 face masks, protective goggles and nitrile gloves, Officers also sanitized their hands with hand sanitizer upon entering and leaving the quarantine zone, on top of other decontamination procedures.

Knezevic explained that there was only one instance when the CPS were asked to intervene in a situation involving a patient under quarantine. Upon the arrival of the Diamond Princess passengers, one 60-year-old man refused to get off the bus and wear a protective mask. CPS were called in, but by the time they entered the quarantine zone, the individual had accepted the order of compliance and had donned the required mask. The officers left the quarantine zone within five minutes and where then decontaminated.

“I think the police department and the City of Cornwall should be commended for what they did on short notice, or no notice,” said Police Board member Bill Beattie. “The job you did was A1.”

Health Canada has stated that it will reimburse the CPS for any costs they incurred during the course of the quarantine, which Chief Danny Aikman estimates to be over $50,000.

All of the officers who covered the 60, 12 hour shifts during the course of the quarantine were volunteers. All those who worked the quarantine had to be clean shaven in order for the N95 face masks to properly fit, with fellow CPS members shaving in solidarity said Knezevic.

Mayor Bernadette Clement said at the Police Board meeting that she hoped to hold a debriefing of the entire experience in order to discuss what can be done in the future if this happens again.

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