Los Angeles County Public Defender Dies From COVID-19

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An Los Angeles County deputy public defender died earlier this week, just days after being tested positive for COVID-19, officials confirmed on Thursday.

It marked the first death of coronavirus in the ranks of the L.A. County Public Defender’s Office, and it has come as California courts set the stage to reopen services and ease restrictions.

Ricardo Garcia, the county’s largest public defender, did not identify the deceased lawyer, but said the person worked at the West Covina branch and died on Wednesday.

“The loss of this assistant public defender is a tragedy, and our hearts are drawn to the family, friends and the entire office of the public defender who lost a colleague and a dear friend,” Garcia said in a statement.

The deputy public defender has self-isolated at home since May 16 and was tested positive for COVID-19 three days later, officials said.

“Two colleagues who worked with the person were immediately notified and quarantined upon receipt of the positive test,” said Garcia, adding that the office where the person worked had been closed and cleaned.

According to an office spokesperson, eight other employees from the L.A. County Public Defender’s office tested positive for COVID-19.



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