COVID kills Aiken Department of Public Safety officer

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 11:50 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - An Aiken Department of Public Safety officer has died from COVID, News 12 has learned.

The agency said Tuesday afternoon that Officer Kevin Simmons, 43, died.

News 12 learned from several sources that he died from COVID-19.

The department said Simmons is survived by his wife and children. Kevin

He began his career with Aiken Public Safety on May 10 as a public safety officer in training.

The department will offer more details later on Simmons’ funeral arrangements.

“Please keep the Simmons family and Aiken Public Safety in your prayers as we deal with this tragic loss,” the department said in a statement.

The death comes as the super-contagious delta variant of coronavirus is sweeping the CSRA, filling up hospitals.

It also comes as fellow officers in Aiken County are suffering an outbreak of their own: Officers with the North Augusta Department of Public Safety have tested positive for coronavirus.

According to agency spokesman Lt. Tim Thornton, some of the officers received medical treatment while others had more of a mild case.

Thornton said the source of the infections is unknown.

“Our officers could be exposed to COVID in a number of places, both on and off duty,” he told News 12.

Some North Augusta officers have recently participated in joint training with the Aiken Department of Public Safety, but there’s no evidence to support that officers in the training were exposed to COVID exclusively during the training, Thornton told News 12.

As far as the Aiken officers: “It is the practice of the City of Aiken Human Resources Department not to comment on the medical status of any City of Aiken employee,” Aiken Lt. Jennifer Hayes told News 12.

She confirmed that Aiken and North Augusta personnel over the past several weeks have been participating in a joint in-house fire academy training program.

“The conclusion of that training has been postponed,” she said. “No interruption of services to the public is anticipated as a result of this postponement.”

She concluded: “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of those who are suffering from the effects of COVID-19.”

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