A 3rd NYPD member dies of coronavirus after hundreds of officers test positive

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New York City police lost its first detective to Covid-19, marking the third NYPD death to the disease that has afflicted the department.

Detective Cedric Dickson, a 23-year veteran, worked in the 32nd Precinct in Harlem, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

"May we never forget the sacrifice of those workers who put themselves in harm's way to keep you and your family safe," the police chief said.

The detective was in his 40s and had underlying health conditions, multiple law enforcement officials said. Shea did not provide details on the officer's health history.

Two other members of the department have died from coronavirus, which has infected at least 512 NYPD employees.

Dennis C. Dickson, a custodian who worked at police headquarters, died Thursday, Shea said.

Shea lauded Dickson's commitment to the department, noting the 14-year veteran "worked 17 days straight" during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

On Friday, NYPD said Giacomina Barr-Brown, a civilian worked in the 49th Precinct Roll Call Office, was the second member of the force to die from coronavirus.

Barr-Brown was a seven-year veteran of the NYPD.

The growing numbers of first responders and health care workers falling sick with coronavirus is doubly worrisome because there are fewer people who can help members of the public.

On Friday, 4,122 NYPD employees were out sick, a senior NYPD official said. That's about 11% of the department's workforce.

At least 442 uniformed NYPD members and 70 civilian members have tested positive for coronavirus, the official said.

And "given the nature of the virus, it is expected that this number will grow," NYPD said in a statement this week.

The department says it's been distributing gloves, masks, alcohol wipes and sanitizer to officers to help them work safely.

But if any member feels sick, they should stay home, Shea said.

NYPD officers have been out in their patrol cars and on foot since Sunday night, informing people about the state's social distancing policies, a law enforcement official told CNN.

Officers have been looking for groups of people congregating and telling them to disperse.

"Men and women of the New York Police Department are stepping up. They're here for you. They're out there putting themselves -- uniform and civilian -- at risk to keep you safe," Shea added.

The United States now has more reported cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world.

Because coronavirus is about twice as contagious as the flu and can spread between people without symptoms yet, health officials urge the public to stay at least 6 feet away from others and stop touching your face.

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