Tybee Island Police Officer tests positive for coronavirus

Tybee Island Lighthouse

April 4, 2020 at 7:34 PM EDT - Updated April 9 at 11:18 PM

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - UPDATE (4/09): As Tybee Island attempts to enforce their newly reopened beach regulations, the Tybee Police Department is dealing with a coronavirus pandemic in their own ranks.

City Manager Shawn Gillen told city council Thursday night nine of the department’s 25 officers are currently in quarantine, including Police Chief Robert Bryson.

With Tybee’s beaches re-opened, Mayor Shirley Sessions says the City is now relying on the state to help them enforce Governor Brian Kemp’s order.

“The Governor understands the City of Tybee, we do not have the staff, the officers and we will not put our staff in harm’s way to man the beach that they opened. He assured me that the Governor is fine with that and he will have the necessary GSP in place and the DNR to handle whatever issues come up,” said Mayor Sessions.

The virus has also impacted the city’s public works and water/sewer departments. One public works employee is being tested, five others are in quarantine. Three water and sewer employees are also being quarantined. Both offices have been shut down for the remainder of the week to be disinfected.

With Governor Kemp’s executive order that went into effect Thursday, no new short term rentals will be allowed through the end of the month. Mayor Sessions says the City will take action against renters not following that order at the appropriate time.

The City of Tybee Island confirmed on Saturday that a Tybee police officer tested positive for coronavirus.

The City says they have worked to trace which other members of the police department interacted with this officer. Four officers have been identified and were immediately quarantined. An additional five officers have been quarantined out of caution.

The city says they have enough staffing to cover all shifts during the quarantine and have asked Georgia State Patrol for additional help.

Photo: Getty Images

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