Just over a week after mourning the loss of a Boston police officer, hundreds from the department gathered outside Beth Israel Hospital’s Rosenberg Building on Friday to celebrate the recovery of another who spent a month battling COVID-19. 

Police said many welled up with tears as they watched Omar Borges emerge from the front door in a wheelchair where his family smothered him with hugs and kisses. 


In the background, his fellow officers and the nurses who cared for him stood at a distance and cheered and applauded his recovery. 

“Quite frankly, we didn’t think he was going to make it,” Police Commissioner William G. Gross told the Boston Globe, noting how Borges had been connected to a ventilator and placed in a medically induced coma. 

Gross said seeing Borges’ family bring him safely back home was a moment to celebrate. In a news release, officers recalled the moment as “wonderfully joyous and emotional.” 

Nilsa Borges-Cruz, the officer’s older sister, told the Globe that the whole ordeal has “been hell.”

“It feels like Christmas, New Year’s, all the holidays put together,” Borges-Cruz told the newspaper. “I have no words to describe the emotion that we’re feeling, our family’s feeling to have him come home.”

Yet as the celebration continued, Commissioner Gross said it would be remiss not to take a moment and remember Boston Police Officer Jose Fontanez, who died from COVID-19 on April 14.

“Today, we celebrate the release of Officer Borges while also remembering the loss of Officer Fontanez,” Gross said in a statement. “This is a serious disease and it remains important for all of us to follow the steps required to lessen the spread of this virus.”  

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