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Third Chicago Police Officer And Third CTA Employee Die Of COVID-19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two more city employees have died of complications from the novel coronavirus, including the third police officer and third CTA employee to succumb to the virus.

Officer Ronald Newman, 59, died overnight. The name of the CTA employee, a bus mechanic since 2000, has not yet been released, while the city notifies his family.

"As with each death, these latest passings serve as a sobering reminder of the danger of this disease, and I ask all Chicagoans to continue to be diligent. Please stay home and save lives," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday afternoon.

Newman had been an officer for 19 years, and was a longtime member of the 4th District on the South Side, according to the mayor and acting Supt. David Brown, who took command of CPD Thursday, a day after interim Supt. Charlie Beck stepped down. Newman also briefly worked on the department's fugitive apprehension unit.

"Who would have imagined that my second day on the department would begin with such heavy news?" Brown said.

Brown said Newman's last day of work was on March 22. He was admitted to the hospital four days later for COVID-19, and died overnight, more than three weeks after he was hospitalized.

The superintendent called Newman "a brave and courageous hero" who never shied away from a difficult assignment.

Brown said Newman's partner told him Newman was "a private man, but those who took the time to know him were rewarded with a friendship that was enduring, dedicated, and loyal."

Lightfoot and Brown said they both have spoken to Newman's widow, and offered the city's condolences and continued support.

Newman leaves behind a wife, a son, and a stepdaughter. His wife is a civilian employee with the department's community policing program, according to Brown.

"This was truly a police family, and it has sent shockwaves to our department again," Brown said.

During his career, Newman received 137 awards, including two department commendations, a joint operations award, a 2019 crime reduction award, and 118 honorable mentions.

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said Newman was an officer everyone liked to work with.

"Today the Fraternal Order of police lost a valued member of the organization, the Police Department lost a valued police officer, and our society has lost someone that can just never be replaced," he said.

Two other officers have died of complications from COVID-19.

Sgt. Clifford Martin, a 25-year veteran of the department who served in the Area Central detective division, died one week ago.

Officer Marco DiFranco, a 21-year veteran of the force and an undercover narcotics officer, died on April 1.

Both of their deaths are being considered in the line of duty, meaning their families will receive full financial benefits.

As of Thursday evening, a total of 325 members of the Chicago Police Department have now reported positive test results for COVID-19.

As per department reporting policy of late, this includes both cases that have been verified by the Chicago Police Medical Section and cases that have not yet. The Medical Section has confirmed a total of 288 cases, including 276 officers and 12 civilian employees.

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