The number of police officers and members of the NYPD calling out sick continued to grow, with 12% of the force now out of action, NYPD officials said Saturday.
Police revealed there were 4,342 uniformed officers reported out due to illness. There are currently 608 uniformed officers and 88 civilians who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Three members of the NYPD have died from the virus, including a 23-year veteran, Detective Cedric Dixon of the 32nd Precinct, who died Saturday morning. Two others — a One Police Plaza custodian and a police administrative aide — also died in a 24-hour period.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea delivered an impassioned statement Saturday mourning the loss of the three members of the department. And while he said the numbers of officers who are sick continues to grow, he was encouraged that some officers who already had the virus were nearly ready to return to work after having light effects from the contagion.
Last night, police from Brooklyn South and Sheriff’s deputies were forced to close down the Lubavitch Center at 770 Eastern Pkwy. after Orthodox Jewish parishioners continued to jam outside the closed synagogue despite warnings from the city that gatherings would not be permitted.
The Lubavitch Center is considered a revered religious site, and so despite the rain and the gathering ban, Orthodox Jews continued to mass there.
“We had to clear out crowds — there was an overcrowding situation,” said one Sheriff Department official after the NYPD called a Level 1 mobilization to back them up. “Sheriff cars were called to reduce the crowds — the location has a lot of significance to the Lubavitch movement, so when the crowds are too, we have to go there. It took a bit of time with the large crowd, but with a lot of dialog, the crowd diminished.”
Officers continue to visit restaurants, bars, supermarkets, salons, and public spaces to remind individuals of the ban on congregating in public spaces and to practice social distancing.
Police officials said officers visited 2,620 supermarkets of which 1,284 were closed for business. Cops also checked on 7,200 bars and restaurants of which 4,814 were closed for business. Officers also visited 1,264 public places of which 761 were closed. Police also visited 3,140 personal care facilities, including nail and hair salons of which 3,136 were closed.
No arrests were made at any location and the police report that most people are cooperating with the gathering ban.
Police are exercising more caution to prevent further spread among the ranks including officers wearing surgical masks to stop the spread and cops exercising social distancing including during roll calls. Some commanders have staggered roll calls so that fewer officers are together during their morning instructions.
This story first appeared on amny.com.