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A third LAPD officer tests positive for the coronavirus

The Los Angeles Police Department's downtown headquarters.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

A third Los Angeles police officer has tested positive for the coronavirus and was exhibiting symptoms inside an LAPD station for several days this week, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to The Times on Saturday on condition of anonymity.

The officer, who had recently returned from a vacation out of the country, was “coughing and sweating” during roll call in Central Division, which patrols areas that include downtown L.A., two of the officials said.

Despite protests from several officers in the station, the affected officer was allowed to work for at least two days this week, according to the officials. It was not immediately clear if the officer went out on calls or otherwise interacted with the public.

The LAPD released a statement late Saturday confirming the positive test result. The officer was sent home once a supervisor became aware of the individual’s possible illness, according to the statement.

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“We have also identified anyone who may have come in contact with the employee and directed them to a contract healthcare provider for evaluation,” the statement read. “The Department has established guidelines for all employees who either exhibit symptoms of the virus or come in contact with someone who may be infected.”

Two other LAPD employees — a supervisor in the Pacific Division and a high-ranking employee described as a “member of the senior staff” — have also tested positive for the illness, the LAPD has confirmed. Sources told The Times as many as 14 LAPD employees have been tested for the virus.

Cleaning crews have disinfected the officer’s work station, according to the LAPD statement, which noted it is likely that more first responders will grow ill as the spread of the virus worsens.

“With our men and women on the front lines of this crisis, providing critical services to our city, we recognize more employees may contract Coronavirus,” the department said. “We will continue to ensure all facilities are clean and safe while tending to the well-being of our team.”

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In the coming week, the LAPD is expected to switch to 12-hour shifts for its officers and cancel all vacations as a way to staff up in response to the pandemic. The department is also planning to assign officers to each of city’s new emergency shelters that are expected to grow in number, according to a source familiar with the plans.


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