He's offering this advice to his fellow officers: "Treat it like any other danger on the job. Be as careful as you can."By Amy Wadas

BETHEL PARK, Pa. (KDKA) – Bethel Park’s police chief said his department has been fortunate when it comes to the number of COVID cases it has had since the beginning of the pandemic. However, it was an experience to remember for some.

“I had it and I’m lucky it wasn’t worse,” said Patrol Officer Eric Anibaldi. “My taste and smell diminished quickly and I started feeling not great in the evenings.”

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That was in November. He got tested, and sure enough, it was the virus. During his 14-day quarantine, he says around four or five of those days were rough. Still, he says it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be.

“I’ve been sicker with other flus and that sort of thing, but it wasn’t a whole lot of fun by any means,” said Anibaldi.

Officer Anibaldi says the toughest part was the body aches.

“I didn’t have the breathing issues and lung issues that are so prevalent with COVID that we’ve seen so far,” said Anibaldi. But he did have a fever and what felt like a strong head cold.

“I know I’m very lucky because I didn’t have to go to the hospital and I didn’t have to see a doctor. I was pretty fortunate,” he said.

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Once he recovered, he says it took a few weeks to get his sense of taste and smell back, but once he did, Anibaldi says he felt as good as new. Now, he feels even better because he recently got the second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

“Why not take the extra precaution to protect myself? That goes for protecting my kids, friends and co-workers,” Anibaldi said.

A local pharmacy had some extra shots, so some officers at Bethel Park police were able to get the vaccine.

With that, Anibaldi said he had some mild side effects. He said he felt sick after the first shot and slightly off after the second. But he says it was a small price to pay for a big reward.

“As lucky as I was the first time around, who knows if I would get it again — if I even could and if I did, how bad it would be,” said Anibaldi.

This is a big concern, especially for someone who works with the public day in and day out. That’s why he’s offering this piece of advice to his fellow officers in blue: “Treat it like any other danger on the job. Be as careful as you can.”

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While masking up, social distancing and washing your hands at the same time.