By Earl Heath, Contributing Writer

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore has his officers wearing protective masks or other face coverings as an added safety measure amid the coronavirus outbreak. The move came as the number of police officers confirmed with coronavirus was rising to 55 (at press time).The good news is that 15 have fully recovered and have returned to work.

“You may see your local LAPD officers wearing either surgical masks or non-medical face coverings while in public. This is for our safety, and for your safety. Coupled with safe social distancing, we will continue to protect and serve through this crisis,” Moore said on Twitter.

The L. A. Fire Dept. has confirmed that 17 have tested positive for the virus. Eight have since returned to work. This according to Emergency Operations Center’s Jessica Kellogg.

Two Riverside County sheriff’s deputies have died recently due to complications from the coronavirus. Law enforcement is being hit hard by the outbreak. The department tweeted that Deputy Terrell Young was it’s first member to succumb to the virus. A day later Deputy David Werksman, a 22-year veteran of the department succumbed to the respiratory illness.

Law enforcement personnel are among more than 200 people who have died of the coronavirus in California. A Santa Rosa police detective died recently. Since the outbreak began, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has sent 209 employees home to quarantine because of exposure to the virus.

The LAPD continues to test more of its 13,000 employees. The department is now taking the temperatures of officers as they arrive for their shifts. Department roll calls are now conducted with officers spaced to ensure social distancing. Those with even slight signs of illness have been ordered to stay home.

Work spaces are frequently sanitized, and officers are equipped with N95 masks, gloves, and goggles if needed.This is what we all should practice at home.