NEW YORK — The latest wave of COVID-19 cases moved fast through the New York City area and hit the city’s workforce hard.
Thousands of NYPD officers have called out sick due to COVID. Acting Chief of Department David Barrere told PIX11 News on Wednesday the NYPD was making adjustments as the sick calls rolled in.
Roughly 6,600 NYPD employees called out sick on Tuesday — about 20% of the department’s workforce. Of those, 3,000 were officers with flu-like symptoms and about 1,500 were positive for COVID.
As a result, the NYPD sent out a memo telling all uniformed officers who are regularly off on Friday and Saturday that they must report to their respective commands for assignment.
The decision was made to provide adequate police coverage for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square as well as badly needed coverage in precincts throughout the city, according to the NYPD memo.
The FDNY has been hit with a similar situation. As of Wednesday, 30% of EMS workers and 17% of firefighters were on medical leave.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, the FDNY had about 25% of EMS out on medical leave.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro conceded the sick calls were affecting the department.
It’s a harsh reality also being seen in other city departments that provide essential services as COVID cases skyrocket across the city and the country.
The Department of Sanitation said staffing is roughly normal, but some employees are working longer shifts to keep the city clean.
When it comes to moving people around on public transportation, an MTA spokesperson said the agency is doing its best to provide regular service.
“The MTA is operating 24/7 service to all stations and keeping customers informed in real-time about any adjustments to normal schedules,” the spokesperson said.