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First Baltimore City Health Department employee dies of the coronavirus, city officials say

A Baltimore City Health Department employee has died of the coronavirus, officials said Friday, marking the first death of a health department worker due to the virus since the pandemic reached the city in March.

Health department spokesman Adam Abadir identified the employee as Marchiel McDuffie, a Baltimore resident and a school health aide since 2006. McDuffie died Thursday, Abadir said.

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Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said in a statement that the person worked in the Health Department’s Bureau of School Health, and had worked for the department since 2006.

Abadir did not clarify whether McDuffie contracted COVID-19 on the job.

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“Our hearts are extremely heavy today,” Young said. “On behalf of the residents of Baltimore, I offer sincere condolences to our staff member’s family, loved ones, and members of the Baltimore City Health Department.”

Dzirasa called it a “terrible loss” for the department.

City health department data show 16,390 cases COVID-19 have been confirmed in Baltimore as of Saturday, and 474 residents have died from it. Many of the cases and deaths can be traced back to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, which quickly became centers of the coronavirus both in Maryland and across the country.

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