When Officer Robert Munoz learned that a colleague had been infected with COVID-19 and was on a ventilator in a nearby hospital fighting for his life, he was surprised.
Dallas Police Officer Senior Corporal Arnulfo Pargas, 52, tested positive for the coronavirus on June 12th, according to media reports. Six days later, he was in the hospital and has been there ever since.
“This guy is very healthy and smart about his interactions,” said Munoz who is a manager in the Dallas Police Department’s community operations division. “I was just dumbfounded by the news. Officer Pargas is very energetic and full of life.”
The fate of Officer Pargas is also a reminder that the number of coronavirus cases is on the rise and that a new variant is lurking.
“COVID is still here. We don’t know what variant it is, but it’s here,” Munoz told Dallas Express. “It’s spiking and we’ve got to be vigilant, safe, and make smart decisions. I’m sure Officer Pargas did make smart decisions. We just don’t know who’s carrying it or what. Let’s be smart.”
As of July 29th, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 750 additional positive cases in Dallas County, as well as 666 confirmed cases and 84 probable cases compared to 1 million people who have received two vaccination doses.
“We, as first responders, still have to answer the call,” Munoz said in an interview. “We still have to go out there and we don’t know if the other person’s carrying it. We’re going to have to put more policies in place about when we answer calls to make sure that we’re being safe and safe for citizens.”
Pargas has worked on the police force for 20 years as a neighborhood police officer in West Dallas. As previously reported, he is also married with six children.
“His case really stands out because we know that he’s been in the ICU of the hospital for this long,” said Munoz.
Regarding how Pargas contracted the bug, Sergeant Warren Mitchell said it’s entirely possible that it could have been during duty hours.
“I don’t know for sure,” Mitchell told Dallas Express. “We have other police employees who have tested positive for COVID besides him, but I don’t think we have anyone else who is currently in the hospital and he’s not out of the woods yet. He’s a rare one.”
Munoz requested prayers for Pargas and his family.
“We ask that of our community and of people throughout the country,” he said.