NYPD Hiding Number Of Officers Showing Coronavirus Symptoms
New York, NY – The New York Police Department (NYPD) doesn’t want to know how many officers have definitely been exposed to the coronavirus and which ones are definitely showing symptoms.
An NYPD official told Blue Lives Matter on the condition of anonymity that precinct officials have been given a spreadsheet to keep updated with the number of officers in their precincts who have actually tested positive.
“A spreadsheet was sent out that told us what to include, and specifically what not to include in the data we are sending up the chain,” the official said.
“If you’re showing symptoms or you’re under a quarantine, that doesn’t count for the numbers the department is having us track,” the source told Blue Lives Matter. “They only want to know about a positive test result. They don’t even want to know from the precincts who is showing symptoms and who has been ordered by a doctor to quarantine.”
He said police officers who have not officially tested positive for COVID-19 have been told to adhere to social distancing recommendations as much as possible while doing their jobs but not self-isolate and quarantine themselves for 14 days in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines unless a doctor has specifically instructed the officer to stay at home.
The official clarified that officers who have contacted the NYPD’s medical division to notify them that they’ve been instructed by a doctor to stay home are not being told they must work anyway.
“If you call up and ask to be quarantined – I haven’t heard of anybody who has been ordered to go back on the street,” he told Blue Lives Matter. “But for the stats they’re collecting to share with the public, they don’t even want to know who is showing symptoms and who has been ordered by a doctor to be quarantined.”
The official said “in my opinion, if an officer has symptoms, it should be recorded as such until you know that officer has tested negative for coronavirus.”
He also said that when an officer tests positive for coronavirus and notifies his precinct commander, nothing is being done immediately to safeguard other officers.
The official said they notify their overhead command of the infection and those officials schedule a deep cleaning “as soon as possible,” which means when the station house can be fit into the long list of city offices and facilities that require cleaning because of known exposures.
“We do not evacuate the precinct – at best they tell you to spray everything down with Lysol,” he told Blue Lives Matter. “One precinct I know of has an officer who tested positive for coronavirus and multiple officers who’ve showed symptoms and had to be quarantined. But that precinct hasn’t been deep cleaned yet and everybody else is still working in there and getting exposed to whatever is living on those surfaces.”
Another NYPD source told Blue Lives Matter that the department hasn’t done much to help the officers who were exposed and have developed symptoms.
“The department isn’t doing anything to help officers get the tests,” he explained. “They might point you in the right direction but the process is so difficult that they might as well not be doing anything for you. Most of the guys who have been tested went through their personal doctors.”
On Tuesday morning, NYPD's official daily coronavirus update said there were 2,774 officers out sick, including 177 officers and 34 civilian employees who have tested positive for coronavirus.
The number of officers who called out sick accounted for 7.6 percent of the department's uniformed force.
The official told Blue Lives Matter the scuttlebutt was that when that number hits 3,000, NYPD brass will start discussing moving patrol officers to mandatory 12-hour shifts.
NYPD has about 35,000 uniformed officers and there are about 8,000 patrolling the streets on any given day.
The source said “the transit strike in 2005 was the last time officers were ordered to 12 hours with the chart being suspended.”
As of Tuesday night, the state of New York had 25,665 positive cases of coronavirus with 210 fatalities, according to the BING COVID-19 Tracker.
In New York City alone, 14,904 people have tested positive for the virus.
On March 13, NYPD sent out a video to all of the police force advising them it was okay to “keep working” even if they’ve been exposed to coronavirus, and the rank-and-file is not happy.
Each officer on the force has only been given gloves, one mask, and one small bottle of hand sanitizer as personal protective equipment.
Blue Lives Matter reached out to NYPD for exact numbers on how many officers have tested positive, are waiting for test results, are symptomatic, and called in sick on Monday and were referred to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily update.