BRIGHTON, Colo — After having recovered from his three-week-long battle with COVID-19, Brighton Police Chief Paul Southard’s release from the Platte Valley Medical Center didn’t go uncelebrated.
In a video posted by the Brighton Police Department shortly after his release Wednesday, Southard was ushered out of Platte Valley in a wheelchair, and was immediately greeted by the exultant cheers of dozens of first responders and city employees.
Numerous police officers were present to salute the chief after his recovery.
Some were holding signs reading “ICU is proud of you!” and “We are so happy for you! We love you!” After Southard took a so-called “victory lap” in front of his temporary home, he stopped to thank everyone who stepped up in the wake of his absence.
“I wanted to say thank you to all the troops who kept things together while I was gone, everyone in the department who kept things together while I was gone,” Southard said. “I want to thank a fantastic medical staff, who, without them, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Southard was admitted to the hospital after he tested positive for the virus March 24. He ended up staying for three weeks.
According to an article by the Brighton Standard-Blade, Southard had contact with four city employees before receiving test results. All four individuals subsequently self-quarantined for two weeks.
It was announced April 3 that an employee in the Brighton police department tested positive for COVID-19, and an open records request revealed that the employee was a police officer. Until Southard’s release, the identity of the officer was unknown due to rights granting privacy through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Cmdr. Frank Acosta took the reins of the department while Southard was absent.
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