Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City of Houston extend condolences to the families of two COH employees who died in November as a result of COVID-19.
Houston Public Works employee Joel Cirilo died Nov. 25 after fighting COVID-19 in the hospital for a week. Cirilo began his career in the Code Enforcement Division on May 12, 2014. His wife is also an HPW employee.
In a statement, Veronica Cirilo said, "Joel will be missed so much. He loved his job and our co-workers. He fought so courageously, but this virus has no mercy. Praying that 2021 brings no more heartache due to COVID-19. I am thankful for so many blessings Joel and I shared through the years."
The Houston Police Department also announced Senior Officer Ernest Leal Jr.'s line-of-duty death on Nov. 27 due to COVID-19, which he contracted while on duty. Officer Leal joined HPD in 1984 and served with honor and compassion.
"As a city, we collectively mourn and feel the grief and heartache of losing two employees in the same week as a result of COVID-19,” Mayor Turner said. “I ask all Houstonians to pray for the families of Officer Ernest Leal and Joel Cirilo. In their own way, they contributed to our city and made life better for all of us. I am grateful for their dedication and service to the City of Houston.
“COVID-19 does not discriminate. It is an insidious virus that has claimed far too many lives in Houston and around the nation. Each of us must do our part to stop the virus from spreading and destroying families," Turner said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of nine municipal employees, three Houston firefighters, and one Houston police officer.
Mayor Turner reminds everyone to continue to mask up, practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently, and get tested.