Boston police officer Jose Fontanez, 53, has died from complications with the coronavirus, according to the Boston Police Department.
Fontanez, a Boston officer since 1991, was the first member of the department to die from the virus. Sixty-seven Boston officers have tested positive for the coronavirus and 53 are currently out on sick leave because of it, said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross at a press conference Tuesday. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told Jim Braude on WGBH News' Greater Boston that he is not yet worried that the spread of COVID-19 within the department will affect public safety.
“We still have a lot of officers that have come back to work that have passed the protocol,” Walsh said.
The mayor said that Fontanez contacted the virus two weeks ago and had been in the hospital. “We were praying and pulling for him,” Walsh said. “He has kids and grandchildren, and is my age, 53 years old. I spoke to his family earlier today, it is just a sad, sad, situation,” he continued.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, as of today, there are 28,163 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 957 deaths. “It is a serious situation,” Walsh said.
Walsh also said that the peak of the virus may hit between April 26 and 28 and refrained from giving a date for when he believes the city may be able to reopen.
“Right now we need to focus on what’s in front of us, and that’s stopping this virus, he said.” “It is about keeping people alive, and we don’t want situations where we are burying a 53-year-old police officer."