Detroit 911 operator dies due to COVID-19: ‘He was a first responder, he was beloved’

38-year-old 911 operator dies after being hospitalized

Detroit police take precautions to help keep public safe
Detroit police take precautions to help keep public safe

DETROIT – A Detroit Police Department (DPD) member diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, has died.

Mayor Mike Duggan said a 38-year-old man who worked as a 911 call taker died Monday morning. His identity is not being shared at this time. Chief James Craig said the family has requested that his name not be reported right now.

The chief said the man, whose official title was emergency services deployment operator, had been with DPD for the past 8 years. He had previously worked for the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT).

“He was a first responder,” Craig said. “He was also used in our notifications and controls center ... he was beloved ... he’s going to be truly missed."

The man had gone on vacation out of state the week of March 9 and returned to work on Monday, March 16. He was not feeling well and did not go to work on Tuesday, March 17. He returned to work on Wednesday, March 18, but then was out sick again the next day.

By the weekend, he was being treated at an intensive care unit with what was thought to be bronchitis, Duggan said. A test was done for COVID-19 but results had not come back yet. Test results later confirmed he did have COVID-19, but that was after he died, Craig said.

The man did not have any underlying health issues that doctors were aware of, said Dr. Robert Dunne, the Detroit Public Safety medical director.

Craig said the other members of the communication center where this man worked were moved to a backup center. Meanwhile, the center where he worked underwent a deep clean.

On Monday, Mayor Duggan said 14 Detroit city employees, including 9 police officers, have tested positive for COVID-19. Duggan said there are 282 Detroit Police Department officers being quarantined and 152 of them will be back to work by the end of the week.

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