CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police say 87 officers and two civilian employees of the department now have tested positive for COVID-19.
The department saw its first confirmed coronavirus case more than two weeks ago, when a detective and a family member tested positive on March 19.
One officer so far, Officer Marco DiFranco, 50, has died of complications from the virus. DiFranco, a 21-year veteran of the force, died early Thursday, after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. He was hospitalized over the weekend, and the mayor said he died after the severity of his illness became overwhelming.
“This searing loss is yet another reminder of the lethal danger of COVID-19, and that danger that it poses to our city, and that the numbers that we hear every day are more than just statistics. They represent our neighbors, our grandparents, children, colleagues, and friends,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday.
Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck has said, due to the coronavirus outbreak, as many officers as possible are working alone, but he noted parts of the city have too much violence for it to be safe to run one-officer cars exclusively. However, due to the pandemic, when officers are paired up, they are working with the same partner as often as possible to minimize the chances of spreading of the virus.
Last week, the CPD said it was shifting schedules at Public Safety Headquarters and the Bureau of Internal Affairs in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, sworn personnel assigned to headquarters, the Force Review Division, and the Bureau of Internal Affairs began working days, afternoons and midnights to reduce contact. Beginning Thursday they will also begin a 4-2 schedule, meaning four days on and two days off.