Cass County Sheriff’s Office employee tests positive for COVID-19

CASSOPOLIS — An employee with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke reported that an employee with his office tested positive for the COVID-19 virus Thursday. According to Behnke, the employee started exhibiting symptoms March 23 but has not been in the office since March 19. The employee is currently recovering.

The employee, whose name will not be released to the public, worked in the administrative section of the sheriff’s office and did not have contact with any inmates or the public through his work. Two other employees have self-quarantined themselves due to contact with the employee who contracted the virus. Of the two employees in self-quarantine, one is symptomatic but is not severe enough to warrant testing, while the other has not shown symptoms. Behnke said neither interacted with the public during their work.

Prior the confirmation of COVID-19 in one of its employees, the sheriff’s office took precautions to both protect staff and the public from the virus. On March 8, the jail was closed to all outside visits or programs. Limited lobby contact began on March 16, and the lobby closed to appointment only on March 23. Now, Behnke said his office will continue to take precautions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Officers are wearing masks for the protection of the public and themselves,” Behnke said. “If [officers] become symptomatic, they self-quarantine, and [we] get them tested.”

To ensure public safety and slow the spread of COVID-19, Behnke recommended that the public adheres to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “stay home” order and to only leave the house when necessary.