A town police officer and an ambulance attendant have both tested positive for COVID-19, according to Town Manager James Gillway.

At the Dec. 15 selectmen's meeting, Gillway said that because seven other town employees were at home in quarantine, he was short-staffed that week. As of Tuesday, Dec. 22, all had cleared the 10-day quarantine period and were back at their jobs.

One of the two who tested positive for the virus had flu-like symptoms and decided to get tested. The other, Gillway said, lost their sense of smell and decided to be tested. Neither was hospitalized.

The two town employees who contracted the disease did not have contact with each other. There was one overlapping shift, he said, but they were not in the building at the same time.

Two of the employees in quarantine were notified by Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention through the contact tracing program.

Gillway said the Public Safety Building was "deep cleaned" after the first case was discovered, and that no one in the Town Office was affected. The COVID-19 cases did not affect the town's ability to provide services.

"It was hard on the police," Gillway said. "They were shorthanded as it was."

The town is still seeking to fill the resource officer position, he said, and several of the part-time folks are full-time elsewhere.

Gillway himself said he "pulled a couple of weekend shifts" as a part-timer. "I was police chief in Searsport from 1987 to 2005," he said. "Some people still call me Chief."

A few weeks ago, he said, someone spread a false rumor that the ambulance service had COVID-19. "I don't want people to be afraid of our emergency services," he said. "Our policies are stricter than the CDC."

If anyone tests positive for the virus, he said, they get sent home.

"It's just so random," Gillway said. "You don't know where it's going to show up."