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Coronavirus: Montreal police declare state of emergency, 100 officers in quarantine

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Montreal police have declared a state of emergency as two of the force’s police officers have tested positive for COVID-19 and 100 officers are currently in quarantine.

Police spokesperson André Durocher confirmed that the two officers who tested positive for COVID-19 recently travelled. Neither of them went in to work since returning from abroad, Durocher said.

The 100 officers who are quarantined have not necessarily shown symptoms, but have also recently travelled, Durocher told Global News.

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The state of emergency, which is in effect as of Monday, will allow the police force to reassign staff to different areas and modify work schedules if necessary.

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“This whole thing happened right after spring break, so a lot of people were [vacationing],” he said. 

Durocher said officers who carry out administrative tasks could be called to patrol the streets.

The police force is currently establishing a plan to offload certain activities, in particular administrative tasks.

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“If you end up with a large number of quarantined police officers, you must be able to call on fresh forces,” said Durocher.

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A number of officers will have to work 12-hour shifts rather than 8.5 hours.

The last time Montreal police declared a state of emergency was during an ice storm in 1998, according to Durocher.

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) also announced on Monday that one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

A statement from the STM said that this person works in an administrative role and was in very little contact with other employees

The public transit agency said it is contacting everyone this person may have been in contact with and following proper protocol.

The STM’s statement also noted that it is disinfecting its surfaces daily and will remain in service.

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— With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise, Olivia O’Malley and The Canadian Press

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