The Surrey RCMP says it wants to assure residents that despite 21 Mounties and 10 city employees having contracted COVID-19 since Dec. 28 the force has a multi-layered plan to deal with “worst-case” scenarios and the detachment is not presently in a position where public safety is compromised.
“Over the duration of the pandemic so far we’ve on average had maybe a couple a month people unfortunately contract COVID, and then just having this huge surge of COVID-positive, or people at least who are showing symptoms and signs of being ill, to have this many, 30 in a week is quite a significant jump in numbers for us,” Sergeant Elenore Sturko said Wednesday.
The Winnipeg Police has been in the news for declaring a state of emergency in its department after COVID-19 has swept through that department.
In Surrey, the RCMP’s largest detachment, with 1,145 officers and city staff, has set up system where it’s still able to operate and serve the public without disruption despite an outbreak, Sturko said, “so that there isn’t any disruption in services and that there is no compromising safety here.”
“Those people who are sick are not at work, they are off duty,” she said. When the pandemic emerged in 2020, she added, the RCMP set up an emergency operations centre within the detachment to deal with situations like this.
“It’s helping us to manage our own resources during this emergency,” Sturko said. “We’re miles away from a crisis. The unfortunate part about being two years into a pandemic is that we have experience. We’ve been through several waves, and although we haven’t seen anything quite like Omicron, the way that we’ve functioned since 2020 is that we’ve always planned for these worst-case scenarios.”