CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall Police Service (CPS) Chief Shawna Spowart gave an update to the Cornwall Police Service Board at their meeting on Thursday, Jan. 13 about how her service has been impacted in recent weeks by COVID-19.
Data presented by Spowart showed that since Dec. 19, 38 staff members were absent at various points due to COVID-19, either because they themselves were symptomatic or because they were exposed to someone who was and needed to self-isolate.
The date the saw the most staff members off at one time was Dec. 30, with 12. Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 12 there were an average of around seven staff members off work due to COVID-19.
The CPS department that had the most number of staff members out due to COVID-19 were the Community Patrol officers who had 16 of their number out with COVID-19 since Dec. 19. This represents over 30 per cent of the total number of Community Patrol officers. The most amount of Community Patrol officers that were off during a single day however was five, representing less than 10 per cent of the total compliment of patrol officers.
Smaller departments were impacted more heavily by COVID-19 during the Christmas holidays. Infrastructure Services and Field Operations, whose departments only have four staff members, saw as much as 25 and 50 per cent respectively of their department out due to COVID-19 at one time.
The Criminal Investigations department also was heavily impacted, with five, or over 27 per cent of their total staff compliment off work because of COVID-19 with a total of three, or over 16 per cent being off work at one time.
Spowart told the Board that the CPS was managing to get by despite these absences.
“We are managing and we haven’t had any crisis in our resource management to date,” she said.
Spowart did state that the most common point of exposure for her staff was at the workplace, but warned that this could change as students return to the classroom on Jan. 17.
“Probably our single highest risk has been a workplace exposure,” she said. “With children going back to school it might be interesting and we might see a spike in exposure.”
Spowart also reported to the Board the CPS’ activities in enforcing pandemic restrictions. She said that her officers have been called to two residential gatherings that were reportedly violating the limits on indoor gatherings, that they had received three calls for service related to individuals attempting to cross into the United States without a clear PCR COVID-19 test, and four calls to check that those under quarantine were respecting their restrictions.