NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As the number of uniformed and civilian members who test positive for coronavirus continues to grow, the NYPD is letting some of its workforce work from home.
"We've been staggering our workforce, working from home, we have thousands of employees working from home as long as they could do those jobs and still operate at a high level with the police department delivering functions," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday. "We've given discretion to our frontline commanders in terms of accommodating people particularly people over 50 years of age with vulnerabilities such as this disease seems to strike harder."
Currently, 730 uniformed officers and 88 civilian members of the department have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Shea said he anticipates that by Monday, close to 900 members will test positive for COVID-19.
On Sunday, 4,651 uniformed members of the NYPD were on sick report, accounting for 12.8% of the department’s uniformed workforce.
"We first started to see the sick numbers grow roughly on March 12," Shea said. "We know that those numbers are going to continually grow. We're looking at both sides of the spectrum, quite frankly, what is the current sick rate as officers are still becoming infected and when is that beginning to plateau as well as forecasting out 2 to 3 weeks and when is it going to be attrition on the other side."
In an interview Friday morning with WCBS 880, Shea said keeping his members safe is paramount and the department is making sure it has the necessary equipment to protect its workforce.
"We're trying to be conscious, make decisions about how we conserve, but we do not want to be in a position where we have them on reserve and they're not in the hands of those who need them," Shea said. "It's an ongoing process, and it's something that we're definitely concerned about."
Shea assures the public that the men and women of the NYPD are out on the streets to keep New Yorkers safe, fighting traditional crime, enforcing social distancing rules, making sure establishments are closed and even delivering groceries throughout the city to senior citizens who should not be venturing out at the moment.
"It's a struggle and we're pulling from different parts of the department, but we are very well resourced," Shea said. "So we're doing all of that and we will get through this together."