MIDDLETOWN TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Middletown Township Police officer who tested positive for COVID-19 this week said he has experienced moderate symptoms and hopes to return to work once he is cleared.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub spoke Saturday via video messaging with Officer Ryan Morrison, who learned Friday that he is infected with the virus. He will remain isolated in his home for a minimum of seven days.
Morrison said he never has any symptoms while working and has not returned to work since becoming symptomatic. He said returning to work without first getting tested for the virus would have been a selfish decision.
"I figured I'd go get tested, because if I were going to work Friday with symptoms, if I had it, I'd spread it to the rest of the people I work with, and then before you know it the whole police department is out of commission," Morrison said. "So it's better to get tested earlier than later."
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, police across Bucks County continue to serve the public while armed with new protocols to protect officers from the virus while keeping the public safe.
One of these such measures is a mutual-aid agreement, which allows the county's more than 900 officers to patrol any jurisdiction within the county, should exposure to the virus begin to cause manpower shortages.
"The health and safety of the public is our first priority," said Weintraub. "This crisis continues to present new challenges every day, but we're prepared to work together to meet them and continue doing our jobs."
Director of the Bucks County Health Department Dr. David Damsker said Ofc. Morrison's relatively mild symptoms are not unusual among otherwise healthy patients who test positive for COVID-19. He said some of the first people who have already contracted the virus in the county have already recovered.
"People need to know that this virus will cause mild illness in the vast majority of patients, who will fully recover," Damsker said. "It can be a very serious illness, but for most it's not the end of the world."
However, Damsker says social mitigation efforts like avoiding crowds, staying in your home and keeping non-essential businesses closed are still of paramount importance in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
The Health Department encourages people at home experiencing mild symptoms not to go to the hospital.
"The reality is that many more people are going to test positive for this virus," Damsker said, "and we need to ensure our hospitals do not become overwhelmed. Otherwise, the people who need care most may not be able to receive it."
Middletown Township police officer with COVID-19 hopes to return to work after full recovery, medical clearance
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