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Columbia fire and police departments modifying operations due to virus

The police headquarters lobby will be closed to the public, citizens to be screened by staff via intercom

COLUMBIA, S.C. — At the direction of Columbia Police Chief William ‘Skip’ Holbrook, the following modifications will go into effect on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Coronavirus latest news from South Carolina and the nation

 Columbia police will:

 All emergency calls will be handled following normal operational protocols.

Police Headquarters lobby will be closed to the public. Citizens will be redirected or screened by staff via intercom and telephone at the main entrance.

Police Region offices will be closed to the public. Region staff will triage citizen walk ups and address appropriately on case by case basis.

·         Police response will be limited to emergency/in-progress calls.

·         Non-emergency calls will be handled by phone.

·         Non-emergency police reports will be completed over the phone or                   online.

 Property checks will be expanded to include any closed businesses or businesses with modified hours of operation. Business owners should contact the PD at 803-545-3500 if they would like to be added to the property check list.

All external CPD community meetings and events have been postponed until further notice.

At the direction of Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, the following modifications will go into effect on Monday, March 16, 2020.

 Columbia fire will:

  • Respond only to medical calls of an acute nature (heart attacks, not breathing)
  • Wear additional personal protective gear during medical response calls
  • Eliminate public access to fire stations for non-emergency matters and visitors will be limited to the truck bays whenever possible
  • Requested Fire reports will be emailed as requested
  • Postpone public demos and public safety educational events

·         All reading programs at schools have been cancelled until further notice

·         The “Fill the Boot Campaign” for the MDA will be postponed

  • Coordinate response protocol for COVID-19 patients with EMS and hospitals

What is the Coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. DHEC is working with CDC to identify all those who might have been in contact with these individuals. These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

People can help to prevent the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. And, always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • stay home when you’re sick.
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and put it in the trash immediately.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • get the influenza vaccine.

For general questions about COVID-19 residents should visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.

For residents concerned about their own personal health or are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your personal doctor or healthcare provider. DHEC has launched its Care Line. If residents have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call volume has been high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.