HOUSTON - A Houston Police officer is hospitalized in grave condition, battling COVID-19. Loved ones are asking the community that HPD Officer Ernest Leal has protected and served for nearly 40 years to now do something for him, pray for his complete recovery from COVID-19.
"This is just a very sad time for us and we're praying and hoping that he's able to recover,” says Veteran HPD Officer and Executive Director of the Houston Police Officer's Union Ray Hunt.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted “Pray for HPD Officer Ernest Leal who is hospitalized in grave condition as a result of contracting COVID-19.”
"We're just praying to God that he's able to be cured from this,” Hunt adds.
Hunt has been friends with Officer Leal and his wife Dee Leal for decades.
"He's a great officer. His wife is also a retired officer and they are an incredible couple. Anytime we have a fundraiser here you can always expect the two of them to be here to help out."
120 HPD officers are quarantined right now, including 76 officers with positive COVID-19 tests and 44 who are awaiting results. Out of 5,300 Houston police officers, 565 have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic started, 489 have returned to work.
"We had a sergeant who we got that same report about (he was in grave condition) a month ago and he's back and he's fine now. So there is hope out there and I'm hoping the same for Officer Leal."
Leal has been an HPD officer since 1984 and works out of the North Division.
"Prayers for him and for his wife who is obviously trying to be with him as much as she possibly can until he gets well."
The Houston Police Department has had two civilian employees die from COVID-19.