ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — “Even with COVID coming he knew the risks, he still went to work every day and did what he needed to do and unfortunately it ended up killing him.”
An Alameda County sheriff’s deputy who’d been in intensive care for over three weeks lost his battle with coronavirus last night.
Deputy Oscar Rocha worked at the Santa Rita Jail which is dealing with an outbreak of positive cases.
The 25-year veteran of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office worked both in the court system as well as at the Santa Rita Jail.
There are currently 104 active cases among prisoners and the many of sheriff’s office staff, both deputies and non sworn personnel, who have tested positive are connected to this facility.
Deputy Rocha was one of 65 people working with this law enforcement agency to be infected since March.
While most of the cases both among the inmate population and the staff have been asymptomatic or very mild, both Rocha and also his wife Maureen were hospitalized.
She was out within 10 days, but Rocha had been in ICU and on a ventilator for over three weeks.
“I fought every single day for him and never gave up until yesterday when it was just eminent that he wouldn’t that he just couldn’t he couldn’t win this battle,” Maureen said.
On the night of his death, members of several East Bay law enforcement agencies came out to John Muir hospital to show their support for the 57-year-old fallen officer. His flagged draped body was transported to the coroner’s bureau as a motorcade followed behind.
“That just feels such a big part of my heart last night when I rode in that motorcade behind my husband’s body,” Maureen said.
Oscar’s life was an amazing life and he will not be forgotten,” Sgt. Ray Kelly said. “We will consider his passing a line of duty death and he will get all the appropriate honors that he deserves.”
Alameda County Sheriff Office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly says Rocha showed the same bravery as all front-line workers that keep showing up to do their jobs despite the danger this pandemic poses.
“He wore his protective equipment, he did everything he was supposed to do. And that’s the thing is that this virus in this microscopic form even with people it lowers the risk, but it doesn’t illuminate the risk. Oscar knew those risks and did his job just as all of our people do and he did it regardless and the service and sacrifice is the same any other officer that service and sacrifices for the community it’s just in a different way.
The 57-year-old was supposed to retire this January.
In addition to his wife, he also leaves behind his son and stepchildren, as well as his parents and three sisters.
A celebration of the life is being planned, but because of the challenges presented by coronavirus — it may end up being live streamed.
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