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Palm Springs police exposed to coronavirus after man spits on them

Palm Springs police exposed to coronavirus after man spits
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Four Palm Springs police officers are in quarantine after a man who tested positive for the coronavirus spat on them Saturday night, officials said.

The officers, wearing masks and gloves, were responding to calls about a man throwing things at vehicles and running in traffic in downtown Palm Springs, according to a police department press release.

“Two sergeants and two officers arrived on scene and had to physically subdue the man who became physically resistive,” the press release said. “The man was yelling and spitting on the two sergeants and two officers during the entire event.”

The officers placed the man into the back of a police cruiser, “where he continued to yell and spit” all the way to the hospital, according to the news release. Once there, the man underwent mental health evaluations and other tests, including for the coronavirus.

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The officers cleaned off the man’s saliva and sanitized the cruiser. Once they learned of the man’s positive test result, they immediately went into a 10-day home quarantine.

The department’s public information officer, Sgt. Mike Casavan, said the officers had not interacted with “any members of the public that we know of” after dealing with the man.

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“Any time there’s a confirmed exposure, we place our officers on quarantine,” Casavan said.

Officers were not able to determine the man’s identity, and the department does not plan to press charges against him, Casavan said.

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Casavan said 15 of the department’s 97 sworn officers have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic. Six, including the four involved in the spitting incident, are in home quarantine.

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