NYPD officer tests positive for coronavirus, 17 officers sent home

One officer in the NYPD’s 1st Precinct has tested positive for COVID-19, and 17 officers from the precinct have been sent home because of possible exposure, Fox News has learned.

In all, 31 officers have called out sick at the precinct, including the 17 coronavirus-related cases, representing a substantial 17 percent of the precinct’s staff.

An NYPD bulletin sent to officers says officers who have had close contact -- less than 6 feet for more than a few minutes -- with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 “can keep working.” The NYPD recommends officers call the medical division and call out sick only if they start to develop symptoms such as coughing or a fever.

One officer lamented that leadership did not alert everyone in the precinct that one of their colleagues had tested positive, potentially exposing other officers who work at the downtown Manhattan location.

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The NYPD, however, says they have informed officers that if someone tests positive, everyone who has been in close contact with that person is notified and if they experience symptoms, they are instructed to call out sick.

“A big portion of those officers who were sent home sick regularly work at city hall,” a source told Fox News. “The NYPD needs to be doing a lot more.”

New York’s City Hall is not only where Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office is located, but it is where he and New York’s COVID-19 response team have been giving their daily updates on the pandemic response.

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"At City Hall, there is nothing to clean with,” the source said. “There’s no Clorox wipes, just dollar spray bottles with a yellow liquid. They have no idea what the hell it is. Smells like cleaning solution.”

“You would think that the very place where the committee meets to combat this pandemic would be more adequately protected, but what do I know?” the source added.

Fox News reached out to City Hall for comment.

At an event Tuesday morning, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said five NYPD employees have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. The NYPD told Fox News that the department is doing everything it can to protect officers during this time of crisis.

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Shea tweeted that the NYPD has staggered work schedules, increased cleaning of department facilities, provided available personal protective equipment, and officers are being screened and monitored daily by department doctors before returning to work.

“The police commissioner and leadership have been sharing guidance with the entire NYPD and the department is monitoring the situation extremely closely in real-time,” a police official told Fox News. “Our priority is keeping officers and this city safe.”