First responders take extra precaution to not contract coronavirus

Being a first responder is already a job filled with potential danger but as more people get sick with coronavirus, they are worrying they will contract the virus on the job.

Michelle Panetta is a Nassau probation officer who runs the law enforcement support organization Beyond the Badge New York. The nonprofit raises awareness for suicide and mental health within law enforcement.

"It gets hard. The more people that get sick, it becomes a strain to us. It becomes longer hours, rotating shifts, you might have to go to a different command that you're not normally stationed at," Panetta said.

To try to ease the mental stress during this pandemic, the Panettas teamed up with Yoga Shack and Fitness 19 in Malverne to offer free online classes for law enforcement.

All departments have added changed protocols to try to protect its first responders. For example, in the New Hyde Park Fire Department, they bring out the ambulance first and the door between the driver and the patient is constantly sealed.

"We're not sure what we're going to, so we're treating everything, every response, whether it's a fire or rescue call, as if it's a COVID-19," said Jim Kane, from the New Hyde Fire Department.

Right now, there are 91 members of the Nassau Police Department who are sick with coronavirus and 45 in the Suffolk Police Department.
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