A 51-year-old Newark police lieutenant was released from a city hospital Wednesday afternoon after a battling the coronavirus since late April.
Hector Arocho, who was been with the department since 1996, left Newark Beth Israel Medical Center after nearly two weeks of treatment due to COVID-19 symptoms, the Newark Police Department announced Wednesday.
“Today is a day we can smile in celebration of this victory over coronavirus while we continue praying for our brothers and sisters who are still battling, and for the families of those we lost,” Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said.
Ambrose said 175 Newark Police officers have been infected with COVID-19 and four of them have died.
“Lt. Arocho is very lucky,” the public safety director added.
Arocho started experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus in late April and started have trouble breathing a few days later, police said.
A wellness check by 6th Precinct Commander Captain L. Douglas resulted in Arocho going to the hospital, where he was admitted, on May 2, the department said.
“This was the smartest decision I ever made,“ Arocho said in a statement.
He received a full first responder lights-and-sirens send-off and escort home after after he was led out of the hospital in a wheelchair amid cheers and applause by the hospital’s medical staff. He has a wife, five children and two grandchildren.
“We are grateful that our brother has recovered, and we look forward to his return to work as soon as the doctors say he’s ready,” Ambrose said.