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COVID-19 pandemic impacting Colorado first responders

Some Colorado police officers and firefighters are in self-quarantine due to COVID-19.

DENVER — The outbreak of the novel coronavirus is beginning to impact Colorado’s first responders.

An Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office deputy has tested positive for COVID-19, and the agency said people who came into contact with that person have been informed and placed into isolation.

According to the Aurora Police Department, 20 of the agency’s 770 officers are out on self-quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19. Fourteen Aurora firefighters are also on self-quarantine.

The Denver Police Department would not say if any of its officers were on self-quarantine or had been tested for the novel coronavirus. But, civilian support staff and investigators are working remotely per guidance from Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado), and they will backfill those still in the field should they get sick.

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“They know how challenging the situation is, and they still show up for work every single day to keep the community safe,” Chief Paul Pazen said.

Denver officers have personal protective equipment that they can wear on most calls. In Aurora, law enforcement that interacts with the public have been given new guidelines.

“We’re encouraging them to shower at work,” Crystal McCoy with the Aurora Police Department said. “Leave all of this work gear at home, wipe it down. How to properly wash clothes, things like that.

“We’re learning how to get through this safely for us in the public just like everyone else is right now.”

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