Coronavirus: Saskatoon police adjusting services over COVID-19 concerns

WATCH: Coverage in Saskatchewan on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus

Saskatoon’s top cop says while concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic may necessitate operational changes, it won’t change the way the force serves the city.

Police Chief Troy Cooper says the operational changes will be felt at headquarters.

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“Together with our partners, the Saskatoon Police Service is assessing emerging issues daily in order to maintain community safety while ensuring the health and well-being of our staff,” Cooper said Tuesday in a statement.

“We understand these are uncertain times and we appreciate your continued support as we work together to find solutions to emerging issues.”

Starting Wednesday, the service centre will be closed to the public.

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“We are encouraging the use of online reporting or calling our non-emergency number rather than attending in person,” Cooper said.

Criminal record checks will only be performed online, and vulnerable-sector checks are not available at this time, he added.

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The victims’ service office is closing, and staff will only be available to their clients by phone.

Cooper said changes are also coming to the communications section.

“Persons calling can be expected to be asked additional screening questions in regards to COVID-19,” he said.

Precautionary equipment will be provided to staff that may be visible at times, including face masks.

Cooper said police are also working with the Saskatoon Police Association to ensure members are able to provide policing to the city while addressing the challenges they face with self-monitoring, self-isolation and child care.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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