Cornwall police response to COVID-19 quarantine ‘well-executed’

Cornwall Police Service Staff Sgt. George Knezevic models the protective equipment used by front line officers and those on shift at Nav Center during the quarantine for the police board on Thursday, March 5, 2020. The equipment includes an N95 mask, eyewear and gloves. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The Cornwall Police Service officer in charge of front-line patrol members says the force’s response to the novel coronavirus quarantine at Nav Center was a “well executed operation.”

Staff Sgt. George Knezevic updated members of the police board on Thursday morning on the agency’s response and showed the board the protection equipment used during their work.

Knezevic says they only had one call for service over the past 13 days. It was on the first day when a 60-year-old man refused to wear a mask when getting off the bus from CFB Trenton.

“The quarantine officer approached myself and our two response officers explaining that there’s somebody who’s not complying with the order. The officer typed out an order of compliance. We went in (and) the person was already off the bus wearing a mask. Our two officers were in the quarantine area for less than five minutes. They came out and (went through) decontamination,” he said.

There were two officers stationed at Nav at any given time and 26 police officers volunteered to over the 60, 12-hour shifts.

The 129 travellers were required by law to follow rules under the Quarantine Act or face a punishment that can include fines up to $1 million and a maximum jail term of three years upon conviction.

There have been no positive cases of coronavirus at Nav Center.

Members of the board commended the police department’s handling of the situation.

Board member Bill Beattie said the force handled a “short order” situation well and the response was “A-1…top rate.”

Mayor Bernadette Clement added that was “remarkable how CPS stepped up.”

The quarantine at Nav Center is scheduled to wrap up some time tomorrow (Friday) with the repatriated Canadians allowed to leave the center by various means after they are screened.

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