Nearly 19% of NYPD Cops Call Out Sick as Coronavirus Spreads

Sick calls are nearing triple the department's average

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Nearly 19 percent of the NYPD's uniformed officers called out sick Sunday, and while only a fraction of those actually have the coronavirus, the department expects the number of sick calls to keep rising.

Sunday's sick call of 6,718 officers was up more than seven percentage points from a week ago when 4,651 cops called out sick. Around 1,843 uniformed members and 274 civilian members so far have tested positive for COVID-19. The number increased drastically from 818 on March 29.

The NYPD announced last week that the department had its first member die as a result of COVID-19. Since then, at least 10 others in the department have died from the virus. The department on Sunday said Auxiliary Police Sergeant Angel Leon, who was assigned to the 43rd Precinct, died on Saturday from coronavirus-related complications. He had been with the NYPD since 1981.

The names of other officers who have died from COVID-19 are: Det. Cedric Dixon, SPAA Gwendolyn King, PAA Giacomina Barr-Brown, SSA Sabrina Jefferson, CA Dennis Dickson, Traffic Enforcement Agent Karisma Dargan, School Safety Agent Roniece Watson, Auxiliary Police Officer Lynford Chambers, School Safety Agent Luis Albino, Auxiliary Police Lt. Pierre Moise and School Safety Agent Linosee Mosley.

"It's a difficult time right now but right now we are making do, we are making decisions, we are reapportioning people throughout New York City as circumstances change, and they are changing," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in an interview with WNYW.

Among NYPD personnel to fall ill as a result of COVID-19 is Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism John Miller, who was being treated at Lenox Hill Hospital, multiple law enforcement officials said. He was released from the hospital last Tuesday.

Numbers of officers out sick have gone up steadily each day: 2,407 members of the department (6.6% of the force) called out last Monday, 2,774 members (7.6%) called out last Tuesday, more than 3,200 members (nearly 9%) called out last Wednesday, and more than 3,674 (10%) called out last Thursday.

"The increase in the number of employees on sick report was anticipated and given the nature of the virus, it is expected that this number will grow," the department said in a statement.

But the NYPD has also steadfastly maintained that the sick calls have had "minimal impact" on its ability to continue policing the city. Shea said Thursday the department would have a task force in place by Monday to backfill cops where needed, and would look at extending shifts if necessary.

Officers have received more than 200,000 gloves and more than 400,000 masks of various kinds since the crisis started, the NYPD said, with more supplies on the way.

Meanwhile, a senior FDNY official tells NBC News on Saturday that 426 members of the department -- firefighters, EMTs and civilians -- have tested positive for COVID-19. It's unclear how many of the department's 17,000 staff are out on medical leave, either for flu-like or coronavirus-like symptoms or for other unrelated ailments, but the senior official said well over 100 members who were sick have returned to work.

Due to an all-time high record of emergency calls, the FDNY is strongly urging New Yorkers to only call 911 if they have a heart condition, they’re choking, they cannot breathe, or they’re having true difficulties breathing.

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