A Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officer has died from COVID-19 complications, leaving behind a widower and a 2-year-old daughter, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Jennifer Sepot, 27, died Saturday at Northwest Medical Center in Margate after contracting COVID-19 on the job, according to police.
"It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that the Fort Lauderdale Police Department announces the passing of Officer Jennifer Sepot," the police wrote in a release.
Sepot fell ill Friday night and was hospitalized with the infection.
"She was exposed at work and had tested positive," Detective Brandon Diaz, the union president, told the Sun-Sentinel. "And then obviously was sick with it and out since, I want to say it was like maybe the sixth or the eighth, and apparently was having some complications last night, went to the hospital and passed away this morning."
Diaz did not know Sepot's vaccination status, and said it is the first Fort Lauderdale police officer to die from COVID-19.
"I know we've had a lot of exposures, a lot of positives, but I don't know the number off the top of my head," Diaz told the Sun-Sentinel.
"We obviously encourage our members to get vaccinated, but it's their own personal decision."
While nearby Plantation instituted a mandate for government workers to be vaccination, Diaz said a mandate is unlikely in Fort Lauderdale.
"If it were, we'd obviously seek legal counsel in regard to the matter, see if that's even something they can legally require," Diaz told the Sun-Sentinel.
"I've chosen to get vaccinated because I think it's something we should do to keep ourselves safe, but people have their reasons for not doing so, so we like to respect their individual rights."
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