Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has tested positive for COVID-19 after he refused to enforce California’s mask mandate or curfew and provide the state with data on virus cases in prisons.
Jones tested positive for the virus on Monday, the same day that Sacramento County registered the highest number of new daily infections with 1,115 cases in one day.
It comes after the sheriff has consistently pushed back against Governor Gavin Newsom’s state orders put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones (pictured) has tested positive for COVID-19 after refusing to enforce California’s mask mandate or night clock and to provide state data on virus cases in prisons
The sheriff’s office confirmed Jones’s diagnosis in a statement Monday, saying he was quarantining at home and following official health guidelines.
Jones began showing mild symptoms of the virus on Friday, including fever, congestion, light-headedness, and headache after being exposed to the virus through a colleague who later tested positive, his office said.
He started to feel better on Sunday morning and by Monday, when his test came back positive, he had “almost no residual symptoms,” the statement read.
Jones’s relatives have also been tested and are going to be quarantined while waiting for the results.
The office states that “dozens” of Sacramento Sheriff’s Office employees contracted the virus during the pandemic through their work “despite strict institutional security practices and following all recommended personal security protocols.”
However, Jones has repeatedly opposed and refused to enforce several of the state’s public health mandates.
Last month, Newsom introduced a curfew for all California counties in the most severe purple layer where coronavirus is considered “ widespread. ”
Jones tested positive for the virus on Monday, the same day that Sacramento County registered the highest number of new daily infections with 1,115 cases in one day
The curfew, called a “ limited Stay at Home Order ” by the state, ordered Californians in affected counties to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. from November 22 to December 21.
At the time, it affected 41 of the state’s 58 counties and more than 94 percent of the state’s population.
Jones responded to the order on Nov. 19, saying that his office would not enforce the state order or any other order regarding “ Thanksgiving or other social gatherings ” or wearing masks.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office will not determine – including entering a home or business – compliance or compliance with health or emergency ordinances regarding curfews, staying home, Thanksgiving, or other social gatherings inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates, ”he said in a statement.
He added that he “will not send officers for these purposes” and “wish everyone a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday.”
This came after Jones spoke out in June to say he wouldn’t enforce Newsom’s mask mandate and brushed off a refusal to wear one as a “ minor offense. ”
“ The potential for negative outcomes at enforcement meetings, and in anticipation of the various ways the warrant could be violated, would be inappropriate for deputies to criminally enforce the governor’s mandate, ” he said in a statement on June 19.
“Accordingly, the Sheriff’s Office won’t do that.”
It comes after the sheriff has consistently pushed against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state signs put in place to slow the spread of the virus, including refusing to enforce a mask mandate.
The sheriff also declined to participate in a nationwide database to track coronavirus cases and tests in prisons in August.
The Board of State and Community Corrections had launched an online dashboard that tracks COVID-19 in California prisons, including testing, inmate infections and hospitalizations.
Jones’s office said it had revised the tracking system and did not find the data to be “comprehensive enough to provide a complete picture regarding COVID and our prison system,” and so did not want to share the information.
Sacramento was one of only two counties in all of California’s 58 counties that refused to participate, while the other was Tehama County.
Jones’s positive diagnosis comes as cases in Sacramento increase.
New daily cases hit record levels this week with 1,115 cases reported on Tuesday, eclipsing the previous daily record of 957 on Nov. 24.
A further 368 cases were registered on Wednesday, a significant drop, but hospital admissions continue to rise to alarming heights.
In total, there were 363 patients with the virus in the hospital on Wednesday, of which 77 in the ICU.
By contrast, previous peak hospital admissions were 281 in the summer.
Concerns are growing that the health care system could collapse under the weight of demand with only 64 ICU beds left empty for future patients.
In total, there have been 39,367 cases and 591 deaths from the virus in Sacramento County.
Statewide, California is currently experiencing the highest increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, it broke its own record of daily cases with 20,759 cases recorded – more than 2,500 higher than the previous record of 18,350.
A total of 1.24 million people are infected and 19,324 have died.
Newsom warned on Monday that Southern California could run out of ICU capacity in mid-December if it continues its troubling trajectory, and said a tighter stay-at-home order could be around the corner.
Nationally, more than 13.9 million people are infected and 273,746 have died.