NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot is under fire for alleged comments made to an NYPD official early on in the coronavirus pandemic.

There was allegedly a heated exchange over PPE for police officers during the height of the crisis, and now several police unions are calling for her to be fired.

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Thursday, the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio responded.

Back in March, as COVID-19 spread like wildfire and PPE supplies were in high demand, the NYPD requested 500,000 surgical masks, but were told they would only receive 50,000.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

An NYPD source says Dr. Barbot told NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan during a phone call “I don’t give two rats a**** about your cops, I need them for others.”

That source was not on the phone call or in the room.

“I’m not getting into the details of that,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Shea would only say they’ve been doing everything possible to get officers PPE.

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“We’ve never run out of supplies, but we’ve begged, borrowed and stole to do everything possible to make sure you have the equipment you need. And I was kidding with the stole part,” he said.

The Department of Health issued a statement late Wednesday night:

Dr. Barbot and Chief Monahan have a good working relationship. During the height of COVID, while our hospitals were battling to keep patients alive, there was a heated exchange between the two where things were said out of frustration but no harm was wished on anyone. The Commissioner apologized for her contribution to the exchange, the apology was accepted and agreement was arrived between the two to ensure that respirators were delivered to members of the force. This has always been about saving the lives of our healthcare workers, police officers and every New Yorker who is fighting through this pandemic.

New York City’s police, detectives and sergeants unions are calling for her firing.

Commissioner Barbot was absent from de Blasio’s daily virtual news conference Thursday. He said that was just because the panel lineup changes every day.

“I want to speak to each of them and understand exactly what happened,” de Blasio said. “No public servant should ever, in any way, say anything disrespectful about the men and women of the NYPD.

“I can tell you that what everyone had to do was figure out a way to distribute fairly to everyone involved because there was no choosing among people. Both first responders and health care workers needed help,” he added.

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The mayor an police commissioner also condemned the language used in a tweet by the Sergeants Benevolent Association calling Commissioner Barbot an offensive name. The mayor called it misogynistic, and said the head of the union should apologize.