Major staffing shortages at NYPD, FDNY due to COVID surge

The surge in positive COVID cases across New York has caused major staffing shortages due to sick employees within the NYPD and FDNY.

21% of the NYPD was out sick Thursday in what outgoing Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said was the highest level of sick employees he had ever seen. 17% were out a day earlier.

"When you look at March 2020 we peaked at 19.8%, we hit 21% today," said Shea during a briefing on security for New Year's Eve festivities in Times Square.

30% of EMS and 17% FDNY were on medical leave.

In response, the NYPD canceled all scheduled days off for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and more than 100 new EMTS were deployed.

"When you're grossly understaffed, major illnesses exacerbate that problem and we are seeing that again now a lot of members are getting sick," said Vincent Variale, President of the Uniformed EMS Officers Union FDNY.

New York City Transit was also impacted by the rising number of sick workers. Several subway lines were suspended and others rerouted Thursday.

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