Coronavirus kills 3rd NYPD member as more than 500 employees in the department test positive
NEW YORK CITY: The New York Police Department has lost its first detective to coronavirus, marking the third death in the force. Detective Cedric Dixon, who had worked with the force for 23 years, had worked in the 32nd Precinct in Harlem, said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
"May we never forget the sacrifice of those workers who put themselves in harm's way to keep you and your family safe," Shea said.
Dixon was 40 years old and had underlying health conditions. The law enforcement officials confirmed the facts but did not provide any details on the detective's health conditions. At least 512 NYPD employees have contracted the deadly disease and two other members of the department have also died.
Shea revealed on March 26 that Dennis C Dickson, a custodian who worked at the police headquarters had died. He spoke praises of the deceased, commending the 14-year veteran for having worked "17 days straight" when Hurricane Sand hit in 2012.
On March 27, NYPD announced yet another death. Giacomina Barr-Brow, a civilian who worked in the 49th Precinct Roll Call Office, was the second to die from contracting COVID-19. She had worked for the force for about seven years.
The number of first responders and healthcare providers being affected by the virus is increasing exponentially, which is a matter of concern because there will be fewer people administering help to members of the general public.
On March 27, a senior NYPD official revealed that 4,122 NYPD employees had called in sick, which forms approximately 11% of the department's personnel. The official also confirmed that 422 uniformed NYPD members and 70 civilian members had tested positive for COVID 19.
"Given the nature of the virus, it is expected that this number will grow," NYPD said in a statement this week.
To aid officers in working safely, the department said it has been supplying gloves, masks, alcohol wipes and sanitizers. But Shea has advised members to stay at home if they feel like they are coming down with something.
A law enforcement officer has also informed CNN that NYPD officers have been patrolling the streets in their cars and on foot since Sunday night, informing people about the state's policies for social-distancing among the public. Officers have also been on the lookout for people gathering together and asking them to disband immediately.
"Men and women of the New York Police Department are stepping up. They're here for you. They're out there putting themselves — uniform and civilian — at risk to keep you safe," Shea stated.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased exponentially in the country, with the US overtaking China with 124,686 infected people and 2,192 deaths, according to John Hopkins University.
The coronavirus is twice as contagious as the flu and can easily spread between people, even those asymptomatic. Health officials and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have hence urged people to stay at least 6 feet away from each other or isolate themselves to the comfort of their homes.