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Patrol division worker reports, and other employees are advised; risk of public exposure is low.

A patrol division employee has informed the Washington County Sheriff's Office of a positive test for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

That employee was in self-quarantine, and the sheriff's office said in a statement that a physician will have to clear the employee's return to work. The employee's gender and position were not identified. The statement said that state and federal laws bar any disclosure of details, although others who worked closely with the employee have been advised and are taking precautions.

The statement said the risk of public exposure is low.

The statement said the Sheriff's Office was informed about the positive test on Wednesday, April 1.

The Sheriff's Office announced a series of steps on March 16 to protect against the spread of the virus, which is linked to respiratory disease, to deputies, other staff and adults in custody at the jail in Hillsboro.

The goals were to allow for more space between inmates and reduce the population of the jail to well below its maximum capacity of 572. The population had dropped to 540 on the day after the measures were announced. Sgt. Danny DiPietro, a sheriff's spokesman, said Friday that the current population was 301.

"We continue to work closely with Washington County Public Health and the Oregon Health Authority to protect staff, our community, and the adults in custody," Sheriff Pat Garrett said in a statement. "I wish a speedy recovery for our staff member.  I send my thanks and admiration to all first responders and health care professionals who are working heroically against this pandemic, and pray for their safety as they work to protect us."


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