Detroit Police 911 operator, 38, dead from coronavirus

A 38-year-old 911 dispatcher with the Detroit Police Department has died due to coronavirus.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the death of the 38-year-old man, saying he died early Monday morning.

"This is a reminder of why Gov. Whitmer's order was so important. It is not just elderly people who are dying of this disease," Duggan said. "Something about it, young individuals are severely affected as well."

The man, who had worked with the city for 11 years and as an operator for eight years, had no significant medical issues that doctors were aware of, said Dr. Robert Dunne, a Wayne State University official working with the city.

Duggan said he was off work the week of March 6 and returned to work on Monday, March 16. When he returned that day he wasn't feeling well. On the 17th, he took a sick day but returned to work on Wednesday, March 18th. The next day he was out sick again and by Saturday he was admitted to an ICU for suspected bronchitis.

Duggan said that he had traveled but his family told police that he decided not to travel.

According to Duggan, he was tested for coronavirus but it was not confirmed until after he had died. Duggan said it often takes a long time to confirm a coronavirus case due to the lack of available testing.

The family has asked his name not to be released.

After the coronavirus case was confirmed, 911 operators moved to a backup communications center that had been built in the event their central communications center was compromised. The entire area was deep-cleaned to avoid any potential spread of COVID-19.

"Had this happened two years ago, this would have been an operational difficulty," Duggan said. "Because we have (other) sources, I doubt any citizens were even aware the transition took place."

Detroit Police have begun shifting their protocols for how they approach misdemeanor offenses and other incidents, that way they can reduce the chance more officers contract the coronavirus. As of Tuesday, nine officers had tested positive and almost 300 had been quarantined.

Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters Monday that he expected to have more than 150 officers return to work from self-quarantine by the end of this week.

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FOX 2 will update this story as more details come in.