At least six incoming metro sheriffs just elected to their counties have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a sheriff’s school.
In a joint statement sent out Wednesday night, Fulton County Sheriff-elect Pat Labat and Cobb County Sheriff-elect Craig Owens said they tested positive after attending the school in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Gwinnett Sheriff-elect Keybo Taylor and Henry County Sheriff-elect Reginald Scandrett also said they tested positive for COVID-19 after attending.
The other two sheriffs who tested positive have not been identified.
Others who attended the conference are waiting for their results and are in quarantine at their homes.
The class was shut down due to the outbreak.
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Scandrett told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that he is experiencing symptoms. Owens told Channel 2′s Chris Jose that he has not and is feeling OK.
Channel 2′s Tom Jones was in Cobb County, where he talked to Owens, Labat and Scandrett. All three men said they wore masks most of the time, but not everyone wore one in class.
Owens said he was stunned when he got it.
“You really don’t think a lot about it until it hits you,” Owens said. “Honestly, Tom, I don’t know where I got it from.”
Scandrett said he was not feeling well in the class. He thinks he got the virus at the school.
“I feel like the rules could have been enforced a little bit stronger,” Scandrett said.
“It tells you how powerful the disease is,” Labat said. “There were times when people were properly social-distanced, and there were times when they weren’t.”
The executive director of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association told Jones that post council guidelines did not require masks in class.
Terry Norris said that social distancing, hand cleansing and temperature checks were done.
All the sheriffs who have tested positive so far say they are feeling okay.
“I’m just so blessed right now again that I’m not feeling symptoms,” Owens said. “I’m feeling fine. "
The sheriffs said they just want to spread the message that everyone needs to take the virus seriously.
“My message is wake up, and wake up now,” Scandrett said.
“We have to make sure each and every time we go out that we follow the proper protocols,” Labat said.
On Wednesday, Taylor told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas that he thought he and his team were following all the procedures. But as a precaution, his planned swearing in ceremony is delayed.
“We urge all Georgians to follow the advice of our dedicated healthcare workers and to wear masks and socially distance. While the vaccine is forthcoming, the pandemic is not over yet and we must all remain diligent to ensure the safety of our communities,” Owens and Labat said in their statement.
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