According to healthline.com, the United States has now confirmed more than 18 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations have now topped 110,000. U.S. COVID-19-related deaths now exceed 320,000. That includes the 1,963 deaths recorded on Dec. 21, 2020.
New York has become the fourth state to record more than 1 million Covid-19 cases since the coronavirus pandemic started. New York has had 1,014,044 confirmed cases; the Westchester County government decided to pull back protections to Correction Officers and their families if infected with the virus.
According to a disturbing letter from the Westchester County Corrections Benevolent Association Union President, Neil Pellone to Westchester County Executive George Latimer, President Pellone urges the County Executive not to rescind protections from officers for their families’ urgent care.
President Pellone states that the county rescinded its current policy of providing COVID-19 leave related to dependent care. He also noted that this is the latest in a series of rollback protections that Correction Officers have faced as the pandemic worsens.
According to President Pellone, the county’s new policy protections will not be provided to officers even if the need is necessitated by a quarantine order or due to school closings.
A good percentage of officers live outside of Westchester County, with many living in the five boroughs of New York City. This is unfortunate; New York City just announced the closing of 100 school buildings; parents must do homeschooling. The policy’s rollback will put an increasing burden on single-parent families who have already struggled to balance work, health, and family, due to the pandemic. Now the protections they thought were there for them are now stripped away at no fault of their own.
The county’s decision will ultimately force Corrections Officers who’s families are ravaged by the pandemic to use their own time, eventually coming off the payroll, losing health benefits. The county will even have the audacity to bring the officer upon disciplinary charges or even terminate them, all because they had to care for a family member or attend to their dependents due to the COVID pandemic.
Westchester County Correction Officers have stepped up and displayed their dedication and commitment to the county throughout this pandemic. Throughout this pandemic, Correction made it possible for the department to continue functioning during the crisis, yet they are not treated with dignity and respect.
Further, the country and the county have not effectively controlled the pandemic. Still, the county’s response to its dedicated Corrections Officers is to roll back protections at the height of the pandemic.