Riverside County sheriff’s deputy dies of the coronavirus as toll on law enforcement grows
A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy died Thursday morning from complications of the coronavirus, the latest sign of how law enforcement is being hit hard by the outbreak.
The department tweeted that Deputy Terrell Young was its first member to succumb to the virus. Young battled symptoms of COVID-19 for a week before his death, Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a Facebook post. He served in the department for 15 years.
“Our prayers go out to his family and friends as we suffer through this loss,” said Bianco, who had announced March 26 that a deputy had tested positive for the coronavirus. Since then, two other Riverside County deputies have also been infected.
Young was working at one of the county jails in late March when he reported “very early in the shift” that he was not feeling well and was sent home, Bianco said in a video posted on social media. Because of the nature of his assignment that day, he hadn’t interacted with any employees or inmates. Young was sent home to quarantine, where he was “doing well and recovering at home” a week ago, Bianco said.
Young started his career with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in December 2005. He is survived by his wife and four children, according to the Riverside County Sheriffs’ Assn.
“The news of Terrell’s loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our health professionals to stop the spread of COVID-19,” association President Bill Young said Thursday. “We continue to urge everyone that this virus is real, it is deadly and we should continue to maintain social distancing as much as possible.”
Bianco said the department has been working hard to prevent the virus from spreading to the inmate population by making deputy contact with those in the jail “very controlled and limited.”
As of March 26, the department had 11 inmates who were symptomatic and in quarantine, Bianco said. None has tested positive for COVID-19.
Several deputies who have experienced symptoms were in self-quarantine last week, the sheriff said, but have not tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
As coronavirus spreads, California prisons plan to release 3,500 inmates early.
Law enforcement personnel are among more than 200 people who have died of the coronavirus in the state. A Santa Rosa police detective died last week.
Since the outbreak began, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has sent 209 employees home to quarantine because of exposure to the virus.
The Los Angeles Police Department continues to test more of its 13,000 employees, and more than 30 have tested positive for COVID-19. The department is now taking the temperatures of officers as they arrive for their shifts.
“We are taking every step to ensure officers’ health,” said Assistant Chief Horace Frank, who noted that anyone with a fever will be sent home immediately and directed to get medical treatment.
Department roll calls are now conducted with officers spaced far apart to ensure social distancing. Those with even slight signs of illness have been ordered to stay home, Frank said.
Work spaces are now frequently sanitized, and officers are equipped with N95 masks and gloves and goggles to use in the field if needed.
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