As new cases of coronavirus continue to increase in the state of Illinois, Chicago police and fire officials say that their departments are prepared to continue assisting the public during the crisis.
During a press conference Tuesday, Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Richard Ford said that his department is “prepared” to keep firefighters and paramedics safe during the crisis, while maintaining a high standard of responsiveness and care for all those who need the department.
“While this pandemic is unlike anything our city has ever faced, we are prepared,” he said. “We are ready to provide the service and care that residents of Chicago have grown to expect.”
Ford said the department has instituted extensive safety training in how to deal with the pandemic, including how to handle calls that could potentially expose firefighters and paramedics to those with the virus.
“The crisis has caused us to fine-tune the way we work,” he said.
Interim Chicago Police Department Superintendent Charlie Beck confirmed that two additional officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the department to six.
Two of those officers have required hospitalization, according to Beck.
Despite those numbers, Beck emphasized that the department has not seen a “significant increase” in officers calling off with flu symptoms, and says the department is taking extensive care to clean impacted areas in all districts, especially those with positive cases.
At least 12,000 protective kits, complete with gloves and masks, have been given to officers, according to Beck.
The department has seen a significant decrease in pedestrian and vehicle stops during the pandemic, according to Beck.
“Our calls for service are down 30 percent this month,” he said. “All of this indicates that people are doing what we ask, and that they are staying home and creating good social distance.”
Beck said that the department has not issued any citations, and has zero arrests, as a result of the state’s “stay-at-home” order.
Beck asked that all residents with non-emergency needs call 311 to help maintain proper social distancing, rather than reporting such needs at police stations.