CPD Reports 6 COVID-19 Cases To Date, CFD Has 5

Jennifer Keiper
March 24, 2020 - 4:57 pm

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The total number of Chicago first responders who have tested positive for COVID-19 rose to 11 on Tuesday, as a mix of Chicago Police detectives, patrol officers, firefighters and paramedics became sickened by the coronavirus.

Six of the cases are in the Chicago Police Department, and five in the Chicago Fire Department, leaders of the two departments said.

Two of the Chicago Police employees are recovering from the coronavirus in hospitals, Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck said. All five Chicago Fire Department employees are recovering from the virus at home, Fire Commissioner Richard Ford II said.

More than 12,000 kits of personnel protective equipment such as respiratory masks have been distributed throughout the police department, Beck said.

Officers will continue working while practicing physical distancing guidelines that could reduce chances of spreading the coronavirus, Beck said. They’ve also been instructed to only focus on crimes that are a direct threat to public safety to limit officers’ exposure.

Already, the police department has seen a reduction in vehicle and pedestrian stops by officers, Beck said.

The department has also seen a 30% drop in 911 calls, which Beck attributed to more people staying indoors to mitigate spread of the coronavirus.

The fire department is taking similar measures, including dedicating some ambulances to possible COVID-19 cases, Ford said.

Ford and Beck detailed the precautions their departments are taking just an hour after state officials announced the state’s total COVID-19 tally has reached 1,535 cases, including 16 deaths.

While first responders are “essential employees” who will continue working through the state’s precautionary stay-at-home order, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, urged them to still stay at home if experiencing any symptoms.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2020. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)