Cops test positive for virus

Pinelands police station

The Claremont and Pinelands police station charge offices were closed last week for Covid-19 decontamination after officers tested positive for the virus.

Claremont charge office closed on Wednesday May 6 after two officers tested positive. It opened again on Sunday May 10, but on that same day, according to station commander Colonel Maree Louw, it was found a further six officers had tested positive.

“Currently our shift members are under quarantine as they were in direct contact with those that tested positive,” she said.

A temporary charge office has been set up in prefab facilities at the back of the station while it undergoes further decontamination.

Colonel Louw expects the station’s charge office to reopen this weekend.

Last week, Claremont’s acting station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Marnus Fourie, said all police officers and staff were encouraged to go for voluntary testing. The SAPS medical scheme, Polmed, included Covid-19 tests as a prescribed minimum benefit and police members did not need to pay for them, he said.

“It must be emphasised that members are encouraged to continue wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitise often and thoroughly, and as management we continue to supply all your PPE needs, and more,” he said.

Police officers reporting for duty also had their temperature checked by a colleague wearing PPE.

“If their temperature is too high, they will be referred to Kingsbury Hospital to undergo a Covid-19 test,” Colonel Louw said.

He added: “Should a member voluntarily decide to self isolate for any period because of direct or indirect contact with a Covid-19 positive person, and the member is negative, normal sick and or vacation leave will apply.”

To report crime to Claremont police, call 021 657 1977 or 10111.

Pinelands police station closed on Thursday May 7 after an officer tested positive for Covid-19. It reopened on Saturday May 9.

Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Novela Potelwa said officers who had been in contact with the infected case had been screened, tested and quarantined. Charge-office operations had been moved to a separate building on the premises.

“The relocation is effected in order to allow the decontamination process to take place in line with Covid-19 protocols,” she said.

The charge office reopened on Saturday afternoon after the decontamination.

Call 021 506 2116 or call 10111 if you have questions about policing in Pinelands.