Chicago Police and Fire Coronavirus Press Conference: 6 Chicago Police Officers and 5 Chicago Firefighters Test Positive for COVID-19

Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck, Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Richard C. Ford and Dr. Allison Arwady with the Chicago Public Health Department reported on the updated case numbers among first responders at a news conference about 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The police and fire press conference followed the Governor’s press conference with the IDPH that began about 2:45 p.m.

According to Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck, there are two police officers hospitalized among six police officers with the Chicago Police Department who have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of the six police officers work in the same building.

Following the presentation by Interim Police Superintendent Beck, Fire Commissioner Ford reported that five Chicago Fire Department members tested positive and that all are recovering at home.

The fire department has several ambulances designated for suspected COVID-19 cases.

Officials also gave an update on the deployment of PPE, or personal protective equipment to police officers, firefighters and EMTs. Beck said 12,000 protective gear kits, gloves and masks have been distributed, that the kits were assembled and prepared over the past week by police recruits who had training suspended by the COVID-19 emergency. The kits include masks, gloves, gowns and sanitizer wipes. More than 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer have been distributed to officers and will continue to be distributed regularly.

Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner with the Chicago Public Health Department (CDPH), who gave high praise with the thanks to first responders, said gloves and other material were distributed. She said firefighters were given a thorough cleaning. Arwady also reviewed information about transmission of the virus, and reviewed the basics about the virus. Arwady said the main transmission is among people who have close contact — at least 10 minutes within 6 feet. Arwady said if the virus gets on a person’s hands, and the person’s hands are washed thoroughly, before any touching of the face occurs, there will be no transmission of the virus

“Last week, CPDH put out more than 220,0000 masks to our hospitals and thousands to first responders,”

— Dr. Allison Arwady

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The Chicago Police Department has instituted a new policy that limits roll call to 10 members or less at simultaneously to create social distancing. The police department is asking the public to regrain from walking inside police district buildings to file reports, and should instead call 311.

Homeless people who used to stay or sleep inside certain police lobbies are now being transported to multiple Chicago Housing Authorities facilities for long term housing.

All criminal suspects in transport are first screened for coronavirus at a local hospital before being booked into the city or county jail. The police officer’s car is also sanitized and aired out for several hours if that transport is a suspected case.

In New York City, 200+ police employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and 7% of the NYPD workforce has called in sick. On March 24, 2020, New York State department of Health confirmed 4,790 additional Coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 25,665 with 210 deaths.

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