Multiple Aiken County public safety officers test positive for COVID; source unknown

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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Multiple public safety officers in Aiken County have tested positive for COVID-19. Those public safety officers are from the North Augusta and Aiken departments. The diagnosis was confirmed during a training course hosted by the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

The training took place over the last few weeks.

“We were doing a joint in-house training program within conjunction with North Augusta Department of Public Safety,” Aiken Department of Public Safety Cpt. Aaron Dobbs told NewsChannel 6”s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk. It was an isolated training program out at our training grounds. The conclusion of that program has been postponed,” he added.

The exact number of people impacted is not yet known and North Augusta Public Safety leaders say they do not know where the cases originated.”The number fluctuates from day to day of the positive test and those returning to active duty,” North Augusta Public Safety’s Lt. Tim Thorton said. “There’s no evidence to support that these officers contracted it through one specific event or item such as the training,” he added.

So far, no confirmation from law enforcement about the condition or status of employees in Aiken.

“It’s the preference of my human resource department to not comment in on the medical status of any of our employees,” Cpt. Dobbs shared.

Meanwhile, we did ask officials if any changes will be made with personnel who are able to wear masks. CDC protocols will be as they were before.

“Where it’s mandatory, we’ll take the proper precautions. Where it’s recommended it’s a recommendation and it’s up to the individual,” Lt. Thorton stated.

“One of the things we’re gonna continue to do is just follow the recommendations from the CDC,” Cpt. Dobbs added.

“It is the practice of the City of Aiken Human Resources Department not to comment on the medical status of any City of Aiken employee.

Over the past several weeks, Aiken Public Safety and North Augusta Public Safety have been participating in a joint in-house fire academy training program.

The conclusion of that training has been postponed. No interruption of services to the public is anticipated as a result of this postponement.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of those who are suffering from the effects of COVID-19.”

Lt.  Jennifer Hayes/ Aiken Department of Public Safety

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