By Jessica Easthope
Healthcare workers and first responders are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, risking their lives every day to help their communities.
Nearly two months ago, Dominique Ranola and her eight-month-old daughter GioiaMia made the heart-wrenching decision to live apart from her husband Joe, an NYPD police officer from Staten Island, in order to lower the risk of infecting each other.
“He’s going out and making sure he’s still able to protect people and fighting, now an invisible enemy, that can creep up on him at any time,” Dominique explained. “This life that he chose you choose as well, and it comes with sacrifices every single day.”
The Catholic couple who attends Our Lady Star of the Sea Church have been leaning on their faith to get them through. Instead of being together, for the Ranolas, this is the new normal.
While dealing with not seeing his family, part of Joe’s job is to enforce social distancing, all while trying to fight off a virus that has infected so many of his brothers and sisters in blue.
“Before getting into his patrol car he’s washing everything down, spraying everything, sanitizing wipes,” Dominique said. “If he has to come across a prisoner or make an arrest he’s constantly changing his gloves.”
According to the most recent NYPD’s daily coronavirus report, 4,549 uniformed members of the NYPD are currently out on sick leave, accounting for 12.6 percent of the department’s unformed workforce. Nearly 4,600 members have tested positive, and 31 members have been killed by coronavirus.
“He’s been helping out a lot with police officers who are getting sick, and precincts who have had a lot of people who have to stay home because of this,” said Dominique, “so he’s all over the island helping out.”
For now, it’s all part of the sacrifice of being a police officer and the commitment of being on the front lines.