6 officers, 5 firefighters test positive as Chicago adds virus protection gear for first responders

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CHICAGO – Six Chicago police officers and five firefighters
have tested positive for COVID-19

Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck, Chicago Fire Department
Commissioner Ford and Dr. Allison Arwady with the Chicago Public Health Department
updated case numbers among first responders at a news conference Tuesday.

According to Beck  of the six members of the Chicago police department who tested positive for COVID-19, two are hospitalized.

Two of the six work in the same building.

The Chicago Fire Department reports the five members who have tested positive are all recovering at home

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.

The kits were assembled and prepared over the past week by police
recruits who had training suspended due to COVID-19. The kits include masks,
gloves, gowns and sanitizer wipes. Additionally, more than 15,000 bottles of
hand sanitizer have been distributed to officers and will continue to be
distributed regularly, the department said.

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

She also said gloves and other material was distributed where it was needed in other settings

CPD said it has instituted new policies for limiting roll call to 10 members or less at one time to create social distancing. The department is asking the public to not come inside police districts to file reports and should instead to call 311 at this time.

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.

Beck said 911 calls are down 30% and vehicle and pedestrian stops are also way down.

According to officials, police has not written any citations for stay at home order violations, but they are giving verbal warnings when they see any people out gathered in a group.

During any transport of a criminal suspect, they are first screening those individuals for coronavirus at a local hospital before being booked into the city or county jail.

Then, that officers car is sanitized and has to air out for several hours if that transport is a suspected case.

The fire department has several ambulances designated for suspected COVID-19 cases,. EMTs have been watching new training videos this week on how to handle those calls.

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