FLORENCE — Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The sheriff made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in a brief post on the Pinal County Sheriff's Office Facebook page:
“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. Today, that risk is the COVID-19 virus.”
Lamb held a large re-election campaign event in San Tan Valley Saturday.
“On Saturday, I held a campaign event, where it is likely I came into contact with an infected individual. On Tuesday, I was called to join the President at the White House. As is protocol, all visitors are screened for the virus. While still asymptomatic, I tested positive for the COVID-19. I will be self-quarantining for the next 14 days minimum.”
“I alerted the Pinal County Public Health Dept. immediately after my positive test, and they are working to track all those I came in contact with following the Saturday event. Thank you, be safe, and God Bless,” Lamb wrote on Facebook.
Video of the event posted June 14 on the Sheriff Lamb Facebook page shows Lamb hugging supporters and posing for photos with fans. No one at the event is wearing a mask, including the sheriff. It appears no social distancing was being followed, either.
Lamb, a Republican, is running unopposed for re-election, but has been selling campaign merchandise online, including autographed photographs of himself.
Before Lamb's disclosure, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday it was reinstating some of the previous restrictions it had in place due to the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the state and county.
All substation lobbies will again be closed to the public until further notice. The detention center lobby will also be closed to the general public. Anyone needing to do business at the jail, including self-surrenders and sex offender fingerprinting, will need to first report to the main station lobby in Building C.
Health officials reported Wednesday there were 1,827 new cases in the state, bringing the total to 40,924. There were also 20 new deaths in the state, for a total of 1,239.