Several New Jersey police officers are self-quarantining after learning someone who attended the funeral of a cop last week has tested positive for COVID-19, department officials said.
The Lakewood Township Police Department found out about the positive test late Monday, days after hundreds of mourners gathered at FirstEnergy Park on Friday for the funeral of Officer Nicklas Shimonovich, a police spokesman told The Post.
“I can confirm that we do have a number of officers that are self-quarantining,” Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith said in an email. “At this time none of the quarantined officers have tested positive. We will continue to closely monitor them over the next few days for signs of illness.”
Staffordsmith declined to say exactly how many officers were in isolation within the 149-officer department, citing “logistic purposes,” but said up to 95 percent of Lakewood cops attended Shimonovich’s service.
Lakewood Mayor Raymond Coles told the Asbury Park Press late Tuesday at least 20 township officers would need to self-quarantine after being exposed to someone at the funeral who tested positive for the illness.
“I only wish people would stop this routine of whether they should or should not wear a mask,” Coles said. “This should drive the point home that anyone can get sick anywhere. And people here need to start taking more seriously this virus.”
Up to four others who attended the funeral are also awaiting test results, Coles told the newspaper, adding that testing would be available for entire department on Thursday.
Lakewood Police Chief Gregory Meyer also reached out to other top cops in Monmouth and Ocean counties who sent department reps to the funeral, Coles said.
Shimonovich, 23, died in an off-duty motorcycle crash in Jackson on Sept. 5, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Disposable masks were available to everyone in attendance and mourners were asked to practice social distancing, Staffordsmith said.
“The Lakewood Police Department took a proactive and precautionary role in trying to determine how many of our officers had close contact with the infected individual,” Staffordsmith said.
Anyone who attended the service should now monitor for signs of the virus and get tested immediately if they start showing symptoms, the spokesman said.
At least 3,111 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Lakewood Township, where 199 people have died as of Tuesday, according to Ocean County Health Department data.
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