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.
Sheriffs bust indoor Queens wedding with 200 people present
The Sheriff’s Office busted up a massive, social-distance-violating Queens wedding reception with a 200-plus person guest list Friday night, law enforcement sources said.
Dressed in gowns and suits, 246 people had poured into a loading dock on the side of the Elite Palace wedding venue for a night of drinking and partying.
Alcohol was served and no masks were worn, sources said.
New York City sheriff deputies swept in just before midnight to break up the soiree.
The owner was slapped with summonses for disobeying the city’s coronavirus orders, serving liquor without a license and not providing multiple points of entry, sources said.
The risky reception was held as the city warns of an alarming rise of coronavirus cases in swaths of Brooklyn and Queens, with health officials warning that reopening rollbacks could come in the areas if the transmission doesn’t drop in the coming days.
NYC firefighter rescues giant iguana from Astoria apartment fire
As fire rescues go, this one is both heart-warming and cold-blooded.
An FDNY firefighter emerged from an Astoria apartment fire Friday night with a very lucky giant iguana in his arms and a nearly-bigger grin across his soot-covered face.
The fire broke out just before 6 p.m. on the top floor of a three-story apartment building near the corner of 23rd Street and 25th Road, an FDNY spokesperson said.
A hero firefighter managed to locate and save the big, scaly pet even though the third floor — where it lived — was on fire, said photographer Chris Clarke, who snapped the photo.
“When he came out of the building, he had this big smile on face as he was talking the other firefighters,” Clarke said.
“At first I thought he was carrying a cat,” Clarke said.
“Then I realized that’s not a cat — it’s huge!”
The firefighter reunited the lizard with its relieved owner who as waiting outside, according to Clarke.
“They were clearly very happy to have the iguana,” the photographer said.
The fire was placed under control at 7: 10 p.m., according to the FDNY.
One firefighter was transported to Mount Sinai Queens hospital with minor injuries.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Charges deferred for man arrested after delaying COVID treatment for toddler
The Bronx District Attorney is holding off on pursuing charges for a Bronx man who was arrested after he took three hours to get medical help for a dying, COVID-19-infected three-year-old.
Police had initially charged Anthony Richardson, 59, with endangering the welfare of a child after he turned up at a Queens hospital Thursday evening with toddler Jaylynn Evans, who he had been taking care of.
Jaylynn was unconscious upon her arrival at the hospital and was soon pronounced dead by doctors there.
The Bronx DA’s office declined to say why his prosecution was being deferred — only that he would remain uncharged pending a further investigation.
Richardson, a family acquaintance who was supervising as Jaylynn had a playdate at his Bronx apartment with his young daughter, had been captured on surveillance footage leaving the building with the stricken, seemingly unconscious girl in his arms at around 2 p.m.
He did not call 911 and did not reach Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Glen Oaks, Queens until around 5 p.m., sources said, even though the hospital was roughly 30 minutes away.
Richardson stopped at a bodega on the way, law enforcement sources said, but it was unclear what else may have happened to delay his trip.
Richardson, a friend of Jaylynn’s grandmother, picked up the girl Wednesday afternoon to take her to his home to play with his daughter, Jaylynn’s family told The Post.
“This poor girl didn’t have a chance, everyone failed her,” said a Bronx police officer.
Richardson, who sources say is on parole for robbery, gave no explanation for the apparent delay and declined to speak to cops further on the advice of counsel.
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