Police Are Now Reporting Cases Verified By Medical Section, And Cases Awaiting Verification

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Department announced Wednesday that it now has 180 officers and staff who have reported positive test results for coronavirus.

This includes cases that have been confirmed by the CPD Medical Section, and also cases that are awaiting the verification of the Medical Section.

Of those that have been confirmed by the medical section, 128 sworn officers and six civilian staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

Three sworn officers have recovered from COVID-19 and have returned to duty, police sources said.

The CPD said the expanded scope in the number of reported cases beyond those confirmed by the Medical Section will “provide Department leadership with a transparent picture of any potential operational impact on staffing, strength, deployment, and resource allocation.”

The department saw its first confirmed coronavirus case nearly three 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.

DiFranco’s death 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.

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. A week ago 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. This past Thursday, they also instituted a 4-2 schedule, meaning four days on and two days off.