Positive COVID-19 cases are affecting police and city employees.
Hamburg, New York – We told you earlier this week how the city of Hamburg became a focal point with 234 cases of COVID-19, the highest per capita infection rate in Erie County. It was even cited by Governor Andrew Cuomo when he decided to impose stricter restrictions on the designation of the orange zone group.
We now know that the city government and emergency services are also dealing with the epidemic with cases in the Hamburg Town Hall.
In the Hamburg Town Hall, warning signs of COVID-19 are everywhere, just like many other government buildings and businesses in the current Orange Zone. But there are also signs that the city court will be closed on Thursday and Friday and that the police building lobby and dispatch center are closed to visitors.
This is due to a few positive cases of COVID in the past 10 days. Cases involving a court employee, law enforcement officer, recreation, building and flooring personnel, police informant and at least one dispatcher. There might be more, according to City Superintendent James Shaw.
“I’m only receiving this on an indirect basis, as there have been others in the police station who have tested positive – maybe as many as two others,” Shaw said. “There is one employee in our dispatch department who has tested positive.”
Shaw notes that the Hamburg Police Department has 60 officers and that there are 14 or more dispatchers. So he does not feel that public safety is in danger. But then again, more tests are underway.
We also know that the Hamburg volunteer fire department in the village of Hamburg has had at least three positive cases recently. One of the fatal cases involved a 50-year-old person. Village Mayor Tom Musa, also associated with the fire department, told us that they took all feasible precautions in the firehouse on Ittihad Street to prevent further spread.
Back at City Hall, Superintendent Shaw confirmed that there have been many deep cleaning operations of the building and the separate headquarters of the Police Department behind City Hall since these issues began to surface at the beginning of November.
He also says they are doing their best to deal with this COVID case, and he tells us, “We have contracted with outside cleaning companies to do a thorough cleaning in all those sections where the infection has occurred. And in the other sections within the city of Hamburg a lounge.”
Shaw says the city council will remain open for the time being. But they are ready to have some employees work remotely if needed. There was a similar situation during the initial phase of COVID cases in early spring.
Of course, all this takes place against the background of the number of high cases in the general community of Hamburg at Postal Code 14075.
“We in the city council are taking it very seriously and people in our community have to take this latest increase seriously. We want to be outside the orange code,” said Shaw.