San Francisco police have recorded an “alarming” spike in officers testing positive for the coronavirus as cases more than doubled in the last week alone after a possible outbreak at the Police Academy.
Thirty officers have tested positive for COVID-19 since last Monday, in a sharp jump from the prior five months when 22 officers were confirmed to have the illness, according to new numbers from the San Francisco Police Department.
The most significant upticks happened last Monday and Tuesday when results came back positive for a total of 26 officers.
Officer Robert Rueca, a police spokesperson, could not confirm that all of those cases are related to the academy, but said a “good portion” are.
The department first learned that a newly sworn-in officer tested positive at the academy on Aug. 14, a day after graduating alongside 28 other recruits of the 269th Academy Class, according to police.
Academy staff and other members of the class have since tested positive.
Congratulations to the SFPD's 269th Academy Class! Recruits were sworn in yesterday by San Francisco Police Chief William Scott. There were 29 graduating officers, 22 are male and 7 are female. Well done! 👏🎉#sfpd #safetywithrespect #joinsfpd #sfpdrecruitment #sfpd269class pic.twitter.com/aR4F7ERfOK
— SFPD Recruitment (@SFPDRecruitment) August 14, 2020
Police said the academy has “undergone a deep cleaning” and is reviewing its safety protocols “to ensure the safest possible learning environment for students and staff.”
Two other classes that are in session will be learning remotely for the time being. Some members of the 270th and 272nd classes have tested negative, police said.
Overall, 83 members of the department are being quarantined and may return to duty after consulting with the police physician.
“The department has taken measures to protect officers and the public by screening for illness and flu symptoms,” Rueca said. “We have implemented safety and health protocols for [Personal Protective Equipment], hygiene and social distancing.”
Police Chief Bill Scott called the uptick “alarming and concerning” at a Board of Supervisors committee hearing on Friday.
“We’ve had a spike in the department over the last two months,” Scott said. “We went the first three months of COVID with only five or six positive cases. We now have over 40.”
The jump in cases also worried San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya.
“We are concerned by the uptick in positive COVID cases and appreciate the department working to ensure officers are equipped with the appropriate PPE and sanitation supplies,” Montoya said. “We encourage anyone with symptoms to stay home and call your healthcare provider.”
KTVU first reported the positive cases at the academy last Monday.
By the numbers
Officers who have tested positive for COVID-19 by assignment:
- Airport Bureau: 5
- Administrative Bureau: 23
- Field Operations Bureau: 17
- Investigations Bureau: 4
- Special Operations Bureau: 3
- Total: 52
Source: San Francisco Police Department