All 12 officers in a small Texas town’s police department went into self-quarantine after one member tested positive for the coronavirus this week, prompting a nearby sheriff’s office to step up and handle calls overnight.
It happened in the city of Kemah, a waterfront community on Galveston Bay with a population of about 1,700.
The city closed down its police station and city hall in order to test government and police department employees who had been exposed to the officer, Fox 26 Houston reported.
The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office provided police services to the community Tuesday night and Kemah police have since returned to duty, authorities told Fox News.
A spokesperson for the Kemah Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but other authorities confirmed that healthy members of the police force were back on the job after being tested and having the building sanitized.
An officer had tested positive on Tuesday and the city immediately ordered tests for staff members of both the police department and city hall, according to Fox 26.
County deputies earned overtime pay and the sheriff’s department called in an extra dispatcher to help out, according the outlet.
Kemah has a median age in the mid- to late-30s and is a vacation destination with a scenic boardwalk and waterfront access, according to the city’s website.
Dr. Roberta L. Schwartz, of the Houston Methodist Hospital, told Fox News on Tuesday that a new spike in cases in the Lone Star State was resulting in a growing number of hospitalizations of patients in their 20s and 30s.
The recent surge prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to repeatedly urge residents to practice social distancing, wear masks and take other precautions. He also put the state’s incremental economic reopening plan on pause last week.
And he recruited former Texas Rangers star Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to record a public service announcement on the benefits of wearing face masks this week.
There were an estimated 72,744 active coronavirus cases in Texas, according to the latest numbers from the Department of State Health Services, which were updated Tuesday. More than 2,400 people have died of COVID-19, according to the data and over 84,000 Texans have recovered from the illness.