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COVID-19 surge impacting law enforcement across Southwest Florida

Posted at 8:21 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 20:21:44-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY — Just this month the law enforcement community in lee county has lost two people to COVID-19.

Saturday morning, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office plans to remember Deputy Steven Mazzotta in a service at Centurylink Stadium. Deputy Mazzotta passed away on Monday of this week, and earlier this month, the Fort Myers Police Department lost dispatcher Shawn Boone to the virus.

"With this new variant we have, it’s affecting the younger population, the younger population of the people that work here. So it’s concerning," said Community Affairs Specialist Skip Conroy with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

Conroy said they’re seeing the impact of the virus as well, with more people than ever under quarantine right now due to COVID-19.

“The numbers are somewhat high. They went around eight percent or so of the total employment here," said Conroy.

Conroy said that has led the Sheriff’s Office to implement new procedures to decrease the amount of times deputies come into contact with the public.

“We’ve suspended fingerprinting. We’ve asked that, if you have a non-emergency situation that can be handled, perhaps over the phone, that they call our call center, and let’s handle it that way," said Conroy.

Right now, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is not requiring its employees to disclose if they’ve received the vaccine, and it’s requiring masks only when deputies can’t social distance. Conroy said, their safety also relies on the public doing their part.

“Please follow the CDC guidelines. Use social distancing as a measure. Practice hygiene yourself," said Conroy.

Part of that guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also to wear a mask anytime you’re indoors, even if you’re vaccinated, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The service for Deputy Mazzotta will be held here at Centurylink Stadium tomorrow morning starting at 8:00 a.m.