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Baltimore 911 specialist dies from ‘COVID-19 related symptoms’; is fire department’s first death from coronavirus, officials say

A 911 specialist for the Baltimore City Fire Department has died from “COVID-19-related symptoms,” becoming the first employee of the fire department to die from complications with the virus, officials said.

The 62-year-old employee, whom fire officials declined to identify citing her family’s wishes, worked for the fire department for 14 years, officials said in a statement.

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The department said the 911 specialist was “dedicated and committed to helping the citizens of Baltimore,” and will be remembered for her passion for crocheting, sense of humor and “ability to talk to anyone.”

“Her unwavering commitment to help this community will not be forgotten,” Fire Chief Niles Ford said in a statement. “She will be greatly missed.”

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Blair Adams, spokesperson for the department, said the woman was the first fire department employee to have died from the coronavirus.

At least 211 fire department employees had contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, as of midday Wednesday, the department said in a tweet. Officials used the statistic to urge mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing.

The news of the 911 specialist’s death came days after the Baltimore Police Department announced one of its employees, a veteran office support specialist, had contracted the virus and died.

Katiza Melette had worked for the police department for 24 years and was described as a model citizen.

Mayor Brandon Scott released a statement Wednesday in which he offered condolences tothe 911 specialist’s family for their “tragic loss” and implored the public to heed the advice of health experts.

“As we continue to see, COVID-19 is unforgiving. It is imperative that we follow the mandates put in place for our health and safety,” Scott said. “All of our lives depend on it.”

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