Blue Line

Winnipeg police say 911 operator has tested positive for COVID-19

April 9, 2020  By The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG — A woman who works in a Winnipeg police call centre has tested positive for COVID-19.

Police Chief Danny Smyth says the woman last worked on April 1, when she started to feel ill.

She tested positive for the virus soon after.

Smyth says four other employees in the call centre are self-isolating because they worked near the woman.


The call centre deals with 911 calls, as well as with all calls to police, firefighters and paramedics.

Smyth says more than 200 employees have had to take time off since the start of the global pandemic, but the call centre worker is the first to test positive.

“We don’t know the source or how our employee contracted (it),” Smyth said Wednesday. “That will end up being an investigation with some contact screening by public health.”

The call centre is an open area with high ceilings and good ventilation, the chief added. People who work there will now be screened by a paramedic and have their temperatures taken before entering.

Police are taking extra precautions to deal with the novel coronavirus. Smyth explained the top priority is to ensure that front-line officers have personal protective equipment, such as masks, goggles and gloves.

He said it’s also important to provide officers with as much information as possible before dealing with a situation in which COVID-19 may be a factor. People who work in the call centre play an important role in ensuring officers’ safety, Smyth said

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2020

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2020

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