NEW YORK – More than 1,000 NYPD officers have contracted COVID-19 as emergency calls in the city hit record highs.
Of the department’s more than 36,000 employees 1,048 officers and 145 civilian employees have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, NYPD said in a statement. The department added that 5,657 uniformed officers, or more than 15 percent of the force, called out sick on Tuesday, CNBC reported.
“I am worried about essential workers getting scared and not wanting to show up,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. “That I am worried about. You know the number of police officers who are getting sick is going up.”
The police department is not the only city agency suffering.
Officials from FDNY told NBC News on Tuesday that 282 members, including firefighters, EMTs and civilians, have tested positive for COVID-19. At the same time, 911 call volume is hitting record daily highs, the Fire Department said.
There were 6,527 medical calls to 911 placed on Monday, and over the past few days the FDNY has had to “hold” hundreds of calls, according to NBC News. This means that lower priority sick calls have to wait for ambulances.
COVID-19 has infected 43,119 people in New York City and killed at least 1,096 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Last month, the New York City Police Benevolent Association, or PBA, filed a complaint with the New York State Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau demanding NYPD provide adequate protective equipment, including masks and gloves, to all police officers.
“No matter how this pandemic progresses, New York City police officers will remain on the front lines and will continue to carry out our duties protecting New Yorkers,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “The NYPD has not done enough to ensure that all of our members have protective equipment such as masks and gloves, nor does it have adequate supplies of that equipment to weather a prolonged outbreak.”
The city is trying to boost its capacity to test more police officers and first responders for the coronavirus, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday during a Q&A session streamed live from police headquarters on Twitter.
“I can tell you on the side we’re also working with the unions and the medical division and some outside people to try to boost up the testing available for our police officers. We do have a site right now open,” Shea said. “But we’re trying to boost up that capacity, so that we can get the answers for people that are concerned, so your families can get the answers.”
Q&A with Shea https://t.co/pHUEHTYTcJ
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) March 31, 2020
The governor said Tuesday he would send New York state police to back up NYPD officers if working resources become too depleted.
In the past week, NYPD has lost five members to coronavirus.
In the past week, we’ve lost 5 members of our NYPD family in the war with #COVID19.
Today, the men & women of the NYPD continue to fight, & vow to #NeverForget our fallen:
Det Cedric Dixon
SPAA Gwendolyn King
PAA Giacomina Barr-Brown
SSA Sabrina Jefferson
CA Dennis Dickson pic.twitter.com/aOI2swVDkw
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) March 31, 2020