Over 800 Chicago police officers, employees call out sick in one day

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CHICAGO (WGN) — The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the Chicago Police Department.

The CPD had more than 800 officers and employees out sick Monday -- that's about 6 percent of the entire force.

Of the 50 officers who have tested positive for the virus, a few have required hospitalization and one is said to be in critical condition, according to the CPD.

The department said it is largely due to precautionary measures that hundreds are taking sick leave.

"As police officers, we have these concerns because we're serving the community," said Sgt. Anthony Varchetto of the CPD. "But we also have families as well and there's a concern of obviously, you know, after your tour of duty, bringing this home to your family as well."

Free testing is being offered by a newly formed group called "Bank the Blue" to help and support officers through the pandemic.

The department's first confirmed case of coronavirus was reported just two weeks ago with a detective testing positive. The police facility underwent a thorough cleaning and disinfection.

CPD Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department is prioritizing infection control measures within all police facilities.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to announce additional support for first responders later Tuesday morning.

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