South Florida police departments feeling effects of COVID-19 as officers catch virus

MIAMI (WSVN) - Officers at several police departments have contracted coronavirus and have forced dozens of others into isolation.

City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said, “You understand that it’s a dangerous line of work, but when you go home, you feel safe. Well, that’s not the case now. The officers don’t know that they might have exposed themselves, and now they’re taking this back to their families.”

Miami has become a hotspot for the virus with over 400 cases, the highest number of any city in the state.

Colina said two officers have tested positive.

“We’re in the process now of trying to identify where were they, where was the potential exposure, and we’re going through that process.”

The concern is not only for the officers who have come down with the virus but for those who have been in contact with them, meaning some officers have to be temporarily pulled off the road.

Colina said, “We still have about 37 that are quarantined currently.”

As this story went to air, police confirmed a third new case with 19 others in isolation, which speaks to the spread of this virus.

Friday, two officers of the Coral Gables Police Department were also confirmed to have tested positive.

Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak said both were in isolation prior to receiving results.

Hudak said, “Coral Gables police is a family, and we’re worried about them and their families.”

The Broward Sherrif’s Office said four employees in their department have tested positive.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said, “They’re doing pretty well. They’re exhibiting the exact same signs and symptoms that you’ve heard of throughout this entire pandemic in terms of coughing, not feeling well, respiratory issues, but they are recovering pretty well at this point.”

More than 200 BSO employees have been isolating.

Tony said, “The total volume you hear in terms of all the employees that are self-isolating, this is just consistent with us taking safety measures and precautions so that we don’t further expand any type of spread of the virus internally.”

Colina said, “We plan with the idea that we may have a 40% reduction in our workforce, so we have a mechanism in place where if I’m not able to come into work who’s going to take my spot? If you’re not able to come to work who’s taking your spot?”

Hudak said, “There’s no playbook for this. We’re working hand in hand with our emergency managers in the fire department to try and fight something that we’ve never had to do that before.”

Tony said, “That’s a reality that we faced since day one, from the moment we take our oath is that we can be exposed to different things that could hurt us, harm us or kill us. So again, this is just a new threat for us.”

Late Friday, Fort Lauderdale Police announced three new cases in their department.

Hollywood Police, in the meantime, has one case with others in quarantine but who will soon report back to work.

 

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