CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Officer Marco DiFranco’s death from the novel coronavirus has been ruled to have happened in the line of duty, meaning his family will receive full financial benefits, Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck said Friday.

When the department first announced DiFranco’s death from complications of COVID-19 on Thursday, the superintendent said it was “way too early” to decide whether the death would be considered in the line of duty. Beck said he was working with the Fraternal Order of Police to make a final decision.

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By Friday morning, Beck had made up his mind. The decision means DiFranco’s family will receive various forms of financial support, including pension, life insurance, and other benefits.

“They will be taken care of, they will continue to be a part of the CPD family,” Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck said.

DiFranco, a 21-year veteran of the force, was an undercover narcotics officer, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, and hospitalized over the weekend.

“Unfortunately, the severity of the virus became overwhelming, and he passed away with his family by his side. 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.

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DiFranco is survived by a wife, two children — ages 7 and 10 — and a brother who is also a narcotics officer. DiFranco’s wife, children, and brother have been quarantined, and the facility where he worked has been cleaned and sanitized.

As of Thursday evening, a total of 74 Chicago police officers and two civilian staff at the department have tested positive for coronavirus.

Beck said 983 officers called in sick Friday, which is down slightly from the number of sick calls on Thursday. He said that’s the first time since the department has kept track of sick calls during the outbreak that the number has gone down.

“I watch that every day. I don’t have those numbers written down. They’re ingrained in my soul, and I watch after the safety and well-being of this department as the number one priority,” Beck said. “These are tough times, and we are doing everything we can to protect our folks.”

 

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