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Deputy’s death from COVID-19 happened in the line of duty, health department finds

Deputy Jeff Hopkins was 41 years old when he died of the novel coronavirus.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — An epidemiological investigation by the El Paso County Public Health Department has found that the El Paso County deputy who died of COVID-19 likely contracted the virus while in the line of duty.

According to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Jeff Hopkins is believed to have contracted the novel coronavirus while working in the intake and release unit of the Criminal Justice Center.

“Investigation by the El Paso County Public Health Epidemiology Division has identified that Deputy Hopkins had direct contact during his work shift with other sheriff office employees who were symptomatic and subsequently had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases,” the release says. “… [the] investigation did not identify a reasonable or known alternative contact as the source of his infection.”

>>> The video above shows the initial news conference announcing Hopkins' passing. 

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Hopkins, 41, died on April 1 and had been experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days prior to that.

He left behind his wife, Wendy, and his parents. Hopkins was Colorado's first confirmed law enforcement novel coronavirus death. 

"He was an exceptional employee,” Sheriff Bill Elder said. “He was always committed to the mission and the vision of the sheriff's office and he will be missed."

Multiple employees at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies across the state have tested positive for COVID-19.

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