Park City police chief recovering from coronavirus, says no other positive tests in agency
For Wade Carpenter, the chief of police in Park City, the symptoms of the novel coronavirus started on Wednesday night.
He suffered little difficulty breathing, but as the disease struck, there was profuse sweating, severe body aches, chills and tiredness. And there was pain.
“I would hate to experience this at age 80,” Carpenter said on Monday, as he continued to recuperate from the illness. “It’s the worst joint pain I’ve had related to a sickness.”
The police chief is the most prominent person in Park City or surrounding Summit County known to have been stricken with the coronavirus. One of the first concentrations of cases in the state occurred in the Park City area, toward the end of the ski season. There has been significant progress in curbing the spread in and around Park City, but Carpenter’s diagnosis highlights that the sickness continues to move through the area.
Carpenter is currently working from home and is limited in his duties. The Police Department’s two captains — Phil Kirk and Andrew Leatham — are assisting in covering for the police chief while he continues to recover. The police chief said he anticipates he will return to full duty within 14 days of the diagnosis, or as early as late May.
By Monday, the police chief said, Park City officers had been tested for the coronavirus or were expected to be tested shortly. He said no other members of the agency had tested positive by Monday. The tests started over the weekend and are ongoing, he said.
Carpenter said there had been little interaction between the department administrators and the officers in recent weeks as the agency practiced social distancing. The officers are also practicing social distancing on their beats, he said, indicating officers are wearing masks, gloves and eye protection while they are on patrol.
Carpenter has been the police chief since 2008, arriving from the Southern Utah community of Ivins after serving as the public safety director in the St. George suburb. He has overseen the agency during a period of growth in the community as well as a sharp increase in tourism numbers in the post-recession era. He has won respect in the community and in the law enforcement field, having been elected the leader of a statewide association of chiefs of police earlier in his time in Park City.
Park City Manager Matt Dias in a release announcing Carpenter’s positive test said City Hall had “put in place a series of proactive policies to enhance protections for members of the public and our staff.”
“Our police force is on the front lines each and every day, and they have one of the most difficult jobs in public service. We will continue to work closely with our partners at Summit County to do everything possible to continue to protect the health and safety of our officers and the public,” Dias said in the prepared statement.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday said there had been no coronavirus cases within the agency by then.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.