Coronavirus: Riverside County sheriff's Deputy David Werksman dies from COVID-19, department's second virus-related death

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- For the second consecutive day, officials announced the death of a Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputy who contracted COVID-19.

On Friday, the Riverside Sheriffs' Association identified the second deputy as 22-year veteran David Werksman, who died Thursday.

"His death due to COVID-19 is the latest excruciating loss as a result of the silent killer COVID-19 for our Association and the law enforcement community," the association said in a statement. "His death is a grim reminder of the risks that our members face every day, serving the public in the face of this pandemic."

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According to the Riverside Sheriffs' Association, Werksman began his career with the department in April 1998. He worked assignments at the Robert Presley Detention Center, Jurupa Valley Station, Hazardous Device Team and Lake Elsinore Station, and was most recently assigned to sheriff's administration.

Werksman is survived by his wife and three children.

At an afternoon press conference, Sheriff Chad Bianco said Werksman's mother had recently passed away and the deputy may have contracted the novel coronavirus while making funeral arrangements.

The sheriff criticized elected officials and the media for what he said was an inadequate job of informing the public about the seriousness of COVID-19. He implored the public to heed stay-at-home orders and guidelines from health officials.

Two hours later, a procession escorted Werksman's body to a mortuary in Riverside. Firefighters and police officers stood on highway overpasses and saluted as the motorcade of motorcycles and patrol vehicles passed below.

Deputy Terrell Young, a 15-year veteran, was the department's first to succumb to COVID-19, authorities said Thursday. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Bianco said Young and Werksman did not work together and did not have contact with each other before their deaths.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Terrell Young dies from COVID-19

Young's body was transported Thursday to Murrieta Valley Funeral home in a hearse that was escorted by a procession of dozens of motorcycle officers.

"As first responders, Deputy Werksman and Deputy Young served on the front lines of an invisible beast. Yet, they both demonstrated in this crisis and every day their dedication and sacrifice," the association said. "Their tragic deaths are a stark reminder of why we need the public to stay at home and to take this deadly virus seriously. We need everyone to take the public health warnings as if its life or death because it is. Please, help us help you and stay inside unless absolutely necessary."
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