Waterbury chief of police tests positive for COVID-19, says 2 officers were exposed on-duty

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury’s police chief has tested positive for COVID-19, the city reported Sunday.

Chief Fernando Spagnolo says he tested positive Sunday after having a fever and flu-like symptoms. He believes he was exposed when two of his officers – who were serving a search warrant – came into contact with someone who had the virus.

They also tested positive for the virus.

News 8 spoke with Waterbury’s Director of Emergency Management Adam Rinko. He says the city has maintained an active COVID protocol so exposure to the public has been limited.

“We never really deactivated our COVID protocol, so as far as our public contacts and within our city offices and everything like that, we still have our maintainers continuously [and] rigorously cleaning all common areas and surfaces. That’s done on a daily basis. It’s not so much that it’s a deep leaning or anything like that, but any intimate areas will receive that.”

In a statement, the Waterbury PD said of the chief, “His spirits are good… he continues to engage his command staff via text as is common place 24/7. He is in quarantine and will be following his MD’s advice. He plans on focusing on getting well while he continues to be engaged with his command staff to run the department. The Chief appreciates all the positive messages of support he has received from family, friends, colleagues, and the public.”

Shortly after, Chief Spagnolo released his own statement on his diagnosis:

I have a fever and flu-like symptoms. I will continue working from home while in a two-week quarantine. I have been conference calling with command staff Sunday afternoon and will continue to participate in staff meetings and other meetings via the online video-conferencing application ZOOM. Because of  COVID, we have a pretty good method for working remotely.

Currently, I feel good enough. If it gets to a point where I need to take time to rest, that’s what I’ll do. 

As far as where I was exposed: a number of officers came into contact with a COVID-infected individual while exercising a search warrant last week. Those officers’ tests are pending but none have reported feeling ill.

– Chief Fernando Spagnolo/ Waterbury PD

Through the contact tracing, the Dept. of Emergency Management has identified 12 others who are being sent for COVID-19 tests Monday morning.

In addition, an aide to Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary has also tested positive. The mayor was tested and it turned up negative.

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