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Coronavirus US: Sheriff who opposed lockdown tests positive

An Arizona sheriff who in May said he was refusing to enforce the state’s ‘unconstitutional’ coronavirus lockdown orders has now tested positive for COVID-19 moments prior to a meeting with President Trump.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb revealed that learned of his diagnosis following a mandatory screening during his visit to the White House on Tuesday. 

Lamb was one of several officials invited to Pennsylvania Avenue to attend a meeting on law enforcement and the signing of Trump’s executive action on policing.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Lamb said ‘while still asymptomatic, I tested positive for the COVID-19.’

The sheriff, who will now self-quarantine for 14 days, said he likely became infected after attending a campaign event on Saturday.

‘Unfortunately, as a law enforcement official and elected leader, we do not have the luxury of staying home. This line of work is inherently dangerous, and that is a risk we take when we sign up for the job,’ Lamb said. ‘Today, that risk is the COVID-19 virus.’

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb revealed that learned of his diagnosis following a mandatory screening during his visit to the White House on Tuesday. In May, Lamb said he was refusing to enforce the state’s ‘unconstitutional’ stay-at-home orders brought on by the coronavirus pandemic

Lamb added that he immediately alerted the Pinal County Public Health Department after his diagnosis, which is now ‘working to track all those I came in contact with following the Saturday event’.

It is unclear if Lamb wore a mask or followed social distancing protocols at the event where he believes he contracted the virus. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has not yet returned a DailyMail.com request for comment on the matter.

The sheriff’s positive test result comes as Arizona and several other states – including Texas and Oklahoma – are experiencing a surge in hospitalizations and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Data from Arizona health authorities showed that 1,582 people were hospitalized on Tuesday due to the virus, a new high in the state. Since June 11, there have been nearly 9,700 new cases – an increase of 31 percent.

In total, since the pandemic began three months ago, nearly 41,000 people in the state have tested positive for coronavirus, with 1,239 confirmed deaths.

Arizona lifted its stay-at-home order on May 15. However, when it was first actioned by Gov. Doug Ducey, Lamb was one of multiple sheriffs in the state who vowed not to enforce it, calling the measures ‘unconstitutional’ and insisting attempts to stop the virus spreading had gone on too long.

‘The numbers don’t justify the actions anymore,’ he told the Arizona Republic at the time. ‘Three hundred deaths is not a significant enough number to continue to ruin the economy.’

‘I think people want to know that we’re going to support their constitutional rights,’ Lamb continued. ‘I felt [Gov. Doug Ducey] pushed me into a position where I needed to make our stance clear.’

Lamb, who will now self-quarantine for 14 days, said he likely became infected after attending a campaign event on Saturday.

Sheriff Lamb pictured holding a US flag

Lamb, who will now self-quarantine for 14 days, said he likely became infected after attending a campaign event on Saturday. It is unclear if Lamb wore a mask or followed social distancing protocols at the event

Arizona lifted its stay-at-home order on May 15. However, when it was first actioned by Gov. Doug Ducey, Lamb was one of multiple sheriffs in the state who vowed not to enforce it, calling the measures ¿unconstitutional¿ and insisting attempts to stop the virus spreading had gone on too long

Arizona lifted its stay-at-home order on May 15. However, when it was first actioned by Gov. Doug Ducey, Lamb was one of multiple sheriffs in the state who vowed not to enforce it, calling the measures ‘unconstitutional’ and insisting attempts to stop the virus spreading had gone on too long

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb revealed that learned of his diagnosis following a mandatory screening during his visit to the White House on Tuesday. Lamb was one of several officials invited to attend a meeting on law enforcement and the signing of Trump's executive action on policing (shown above)

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb revealed that learned of his diagnosis following a mandatory screening during his visit to the White House on Tuesday. Lamb was one of several officials invited to attend a meeting on law enforcement and the signing of Trump’s executive action on policing (shown above)

Health experts have warned that Arizona’s hospital capacity could reach a breaking point if cases continue to rise at the current rate. Congressman Greg Stanton has cited the state to be the ‘new hotspot’ for the virus, following its spike in cases.

‘Per capita, Arizona’s infection rate is now more than three times higher than New York state. It’s spreading like wildfire,’ Stanton tweeted.

Amid the mounting pressure, Gov. Ducey announced Wednesday that he will allow local governments to set their own mask-wearing regulations, but declined to implement a statewide order that Democrats had demanded.

‘There is a trend, and the trend is headed in the wrong direction, and the actions we’re going to take are intended to change that direction and reverse this trend,’ a mask-wearing Ducey said during the Wednesday press conference.

But Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, a Democrat, criticized Ducey’s motion, suggesting to the Guardian that the governor has modeled his coronavirus policy on Trump’s views rather than public health data.

Trump is expected to visit Arizona next week for one of the first campaign rallies since the coronavirus pandemic began three months ago.

‘I just hope that it’s not tied to Trump’s visit, the unwillingness to make the call for mandatory face masks in Arizona,; Romero said. ‘But it seems to all tie together.

‘These are people’s lives,’ she added.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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