Five members of the South Portland Police Department tested positive for COVID-19 following two high-risk incidents in December, city officials said Tuesday.

Another two tested positive this month, but their exposures appear to be unrelated, a city official said.

The positive tests were reported over a 10-day period starting Dec. 21, but did not affect services or response times, according to City Manager Scott Morelli.

The staff members involved were wearing masks during the incident but developed symptoms, Morelli said. The city is not releasing details about the incidents because it could allow people to identify the staff members involved and violate health information privacy laws, he said.

“As soon as the first person tested positive on the 21st, all other members who had been in contact with this individual were sent home on paid leave, although some still performed duties remotely. Four of these members ended up testing positive,” Morelli said in a statement.

In early January, two additional members of the police department tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in quarantine. Morelli said the city does not have any information to indicate those exposures were work-related.

The staff members who tested positive in December have all returned to work.

After the staff members tested positive, the city performed additional cleanings of office areas as a precaution. Those cleanings included foggers and air decontaminators, Morelli said.

“In addition, when the city closed buildings to the public and sent many employees to work from home over a two-week period from Dec. 26 to Jan. 10 as an added safety protocol to protect against a possible post-holiday surge, additional custodial staff were dedicated to the police and fire department buildings for enhanced cleanings above and beyond the normal, daily cleaning that takes place,” he said.

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