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 Updated March 31, 2020, 4:00 p.m. 

SR PDThe Santa Rosa Police Department reported today that Detective Marylou Armer passed away from complications from COVID-19.

Detective Armer served with the Santa Rosa Police Department for 20 years and was recently assigned to the Santa Rosa Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Team.

Armer was the first Santa Rosa Police Department employee to test positive for COVID-19. 

On March 24, the police department first reported that two employees had tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Later that same day, it was announced that a third employee tested positive. Then, on March 27, two additional employees were added to the running total of positive cases in the department. On March 30, the department announced three more cases.

In a video update from Monday, March 30, Santa Rosa Police Chief Rainer Navarro said that 107 employees have been tested so far. Of those, 92 have tested negative and 7 results are still pending. Currently, 8 employees have tested positive for the disease. 

Navarro urged residents to comply with the county shelter-in-place order and said the department is considering additional enforcement measures if officers continue to see people out and about in violation of the order.

“I cannot emphasize this enough: our police officers and staff who are potentially exposed to coronavirus as they respond to calls for service need you to stay home so they can continue to go to work,” he said.

Navarro said in a March 27 release that Sonoma County testing guidelines prioritize first responders. The department then began working with the county’s public health officer to test additional staff who may have had contact with the affected officers. Navarro said in the March 30 video update that he does not anticipate more tests being needed for the department, but would provide updates to the public as needed.

For each case of COVID-19, county health nurses conduct an interview to discover who else may have been exposed to the virus. From there, people are notified of potential exposure and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Navarro said that based on some of the investigation work done so far, it is believed that contact for some of the cases within the police department may have happened prior to the county shelter in place order being put into effect March 18.

“The Santa Rosa Police Department continues to operate under strict sanitization and social distancing protocols and will take additional precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” he said on March 27.

One such measure is altering scheduling protocols for patrol teams. 

“Officers will now be assigned either day or night shift, for a two-week period, then self-isolate for the following two weeks,” Navarro said. “Meanwhile a second set of officers will work either a day or night shift for a two-week period, and so on.”

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