CHICAGO (CBS) — Three more Chicago Police Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the department’s total to nine coronavirus cases so far.
An internal memo obtained by CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov states the newest cases include a CPD member assigned to a North Side district, who last worked on Saturday; a detective assigned to “a unit centrally located in the city,” who last worked on Tuesday; and a member “assigned to a unit centrally located in the city” who last worked on March 17. All three tested positive on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck said two officers were in the hospital. It’s unclear if any of the new cases are being treated at hospitals.
Beck has said the department is providing all officers with protective gloves and masks. While some officers have complained about a shortage of personal protective equipment kits (PPEs), Beck said the city is working to inform officers on exactly when they need to use PPEs.
The Chicago Police Department said it has distributed more than 12,000 PPE kits to the districts over the past week, along with more than 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
Beck also said police stations are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis, particularly those where there has been a confirmed case of coronavirus.
“Special attention is being paid to common areas; including desks, bathrooms, lockups, breakrooms, and processing areas, and other high-traffic areas,” Beck said.
The superintendent said police officers also are taking extra steps to practice “social distancing” to keep a safe distance from others at police stations, while still being able to serve the public. The superintendent said the department has posted signs in every district, asking people with non-emergency needs to call 311 instead of coming into stations.
Beck said CPD officers “completely understand the shift in responsibility” during the virus outbreak, noting he’s told officers he doesn’t want them issuing citations for things that aren’t public safety-related. He’s told officers, for certain misdemeanor crimes, they shouldn’t make arrests don’t make arrests, just issue citations.
The coronavirus outbreak has hit other departments as well. Blue Island closed its police station after an officer tested positive, which angered state and local lawmakers. Aurora announced its force was also dealing with a COVID-19 case.