2 South Florida Law Enforcement Officers Die After Being Diagnosed With Coronavirus

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Two Florida law enforcement officers have died from the novel coronavirus as the number of positive cases in the state topped 11,500, officials said Saturday.

A deputy from the Broward Sheriff's Office passed away after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the police department.

Deputy Shannon Bennett, 39, was a 12-year veteran deputy who died late Friday evening after being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 24th.

At a news conference Saturday, Sheriff Gregory Tony said Bennett had first reported he was sick on March 23rd. He went to the hospital the following day and tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

By March 27th, according to Tony, Bennett was in the care of the hospital system and was showing signs of recovery before passing away on the evening of April 3rd.

"Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse last night," Tony explained.

"This is a reminder not only to this community but to us as first responders that we're on the front lines with this, and that we're not immune to it, we can fall victim to it as well."

Later on Saturday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, had died.

He had underlying health issues, the department said in a news release. He worked at the department for 14 years and was assigned to its corrections division.

The department didn’t release details about when or how Ayala contracted the disease.

As of Saturday, officials say there are 22 confirmed cases among BSO employees.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

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