RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) – A second Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy has died after contracting COVID-19, authorities announced Friday.
Deputy David Werksman passed away Thursday from complications associated with coronavirus, the sheriff’s department reported.
“Take it from me losing two family members right here,” Sheriff Chad Bianco said. “You don’t want to be next.”
He was assigned in sheriff’s administration at the time of his death. He was a 22-year veteran of the department, according to the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association (RSA), the union which represents deputies.
A procession was held for Werksman Friday afternoon starting at the coroner’s office in Perris and ending in Riverside as fellow law enforcement and community members waited along the route.
Joe Fanaselle, a Murrieta resident, and his 8-year-old son parked on the side of the street to watch, at a safe distance, as the deputies drove to the funeral home.
“He wanted to wave a flag, and show his support,” Fanaselle said of his son who held a thin blue line flag.
The death comes just one day after Deputy Terrell Young, a 15-year department veteran, died from COVID-19. Young was the first law enforcement officer in Southern California to die from the disease.
So far, at least 23 sheriff’s department employees and eight Riverside County jail inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.
Werksman began his sheriff’s department career in 1998 assigned to the Robert Presley Detention Center and later worked as part of a hazmat team out of Lake Elsinore, the union said. He was an FBI-certified bomb safety technician.
He leaves behind a wife and three children, according to RSA.
“We’re already risking a lot to be out there and protect the citizens and that’s what we signed up for, but we need their help to stay in and adhere to those rules,” said RSA president Deputy Bill Young.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — is spread from person-to-person through close contact, usually within 6 feet, and mainly via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People are likely most contagious when they are most symptomatic. Coronavirus can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose and eyes.