Pawhuska Police Chief Nick Mahoney said Monday afternoon that two dispatchers had been sent home to quarantine there, after concerns arose that they may have had direct or indirect contact with the COVID-19 illness.


Mahoney said the Pawhuska Police Department will take non-emergency police reports via telephone, but the department is moving to an essential-personnel-only approach, with the animal control officer, the municipal court clerk and the school resource officer being sent home, as well. Only the officers on-duty and the dispatcher on-duty will be at, or in and out of, the police station, Mahoney said.


The chief clarified it was not known for sure if the two home-quarantined dispatchers had been in contact with COVID-19, and he said neither one had been tested.


“They’ve both seen their doctors, and their doctors say they don’t meet the testing requirements,” Mahoney said. The two dispatchers are young women, and they have not shown any COVID-19 symptoms that he knows of, Mahoney said.


“We’re not panicking, just taking proper precautions,” Mahoney said.


In other Pawhuska business, the city council last Wednesday appointed City Clerk Tonya Bright to serve as interim city manager. This is the second time in the past year that Bright has been appointed interim manager. She said the public library had been closed until at least April 6, and that the community center had been closed.


Bright also confirmed last week that Pawhuska city officials were looking at postponing the general election for the at-large council seat from April 7 to June 30. A special meeting was in the works for Wednesday, March 25, she said, adding that City Attorney John Heskett would be preparing a resolution.


Pawhuska Library Director Yvonne Rose said library patrons can use the OK Virtual Library during the closure. You will need a library card from the Pawhuska library or another participating library to use that collection of resources. The OK Virtual Library offers ebooks, audio books and some videos, Rose said.


Rose added that another source of materials is Project Gutenberg, which offers free ebooks.