Ambridge Borough Interim Chief of Police Mark Romutis has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
BeaverCountian.com has obtained a copy of a letter sent by the borough to workers informing them that an employee of the police department has COVID-19. Three law enforcement sources have confirmed that employee to be Romutis.
Romutis’ symptoms are said to be mild in nature and he is currently recovering while quarantined at home.
The following is a copy of the letter sent by Ambridge Manager Joseph Kauer to borough staff and officials:
Dear Fellow Employees and Borough Officials:
Today, we have been advised that one of our fellow employees has tested positive for COVID-19. This employee developed symptoms on his last day of work, which was last Friday, March 20, 2020, shift ending at 4 p.m. This employee works within the Police Department and is currently recovering at home.
Upon learning this news, I immediately contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health for guidance and further directive on how employees should respond to this, and how we should continue to operate essential functions of local government.
Consulting with Tracy Lehew, District Supervisor with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), she advises any employee or individual who was in close contact of six (6) feet or less for a prolonged period of time with the infected police department employee on Friday, March 20, 2020 should self-isolate for a period of two weeks starting the last physical interaction with him, essentially, through Friday, April 3, 2020. DOH stated that “close contact” is not putting papers on someone’s desk, walking past the employee in the squad room or hallway, it is being in their physical 6′ space for a prolonged period of time. Based on interviews with this employee, there were no periods of close contact for prolonged periods of time with other Borough employees on Friday, March 20, 2020.
Further, DOH states that this case of COVID-19 has no impact on any other shared spaces or departments within the Borough Building. There is no need to shutdown any specific department, authority or agency within the Borough Building at this time. DOH is stating that COVID-19 testing is not necessary if you are currently asymptomatic, testing is only suggested if you develop COVID-19 symptoms. In light of all of the facts as we know them, the citizens and employees of Ambridge are in no danger as specific result of this positive-tested employee.
I realize this message is very difficult, but it is no time to panic. The health, safety and welfare of 7,100 citizens rely on all of us to perform our essential duties in a professional manner. Please continue to be vigilant, social distance yourselves, practice enhanced hygiene efforts, work remotely when you can, and continue to disinfect your work spaces. As stated before, if you are sick, don’t feel well or have a fever- please stay home.
On behalf of the Mayor and Borough Council, I thank all of you for your tireless efforts over the past couple of weeks as we respond to this national crisis. We have worked unified as a time really making a positive impact. Together we will get through this.