DEARBORN, Mich. – Police officers can’t work from home, and they have to come in close contact with other people. Local 4 got an inside look at how the Dearborn Police Department is handling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, first responders had to be ready to help while also scrambling to stay safe themselves. Dealing closely with people every day put them at risk.
Dearborn police officers and firefighters needed a coronavirus testing machine, and fast. Early on, the tests they were using took nine days to return results.
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“The important part is we were only one of the public safety teams that includes police and fire to get our hands on a rapid testing machine,” Dearborn police Chief Ronald Haddad said. “It took a long mission to get it here.”
Machines were in high demand, so officials had to work with Rep. Debbie Dingell, the state of Michigan and even Vice President Mike Pence’s office to get a rapid testing machine in April.
Haddad said the machine is a game-changer and a life-saver.
“That did two things: If someone was ill, we could get them treated and isolated right away, and two, if they were not ill, we could get them back on the street to keep the community safe,” Haddad said.
Dearborn police officers and firefighters, combined with community testing efforts, led to hundreds of first responders around Metro Detroit getting tested.
Out of around 300 first responders tested, only 12 tests came back positive. Those officials were quickly isolated and treated, officials said. They recovered and returned to work.
Anyone first responder who has contact with an infected person or who goes somewhere and feels at risk came return and get a test quickly, and that gives them confidence.