Arizona sheriff who refused to enforce shutdown tests positive for coronavirus before scheduled meeting with Trump

The sheriff who said Arizona’s coronavirus death toll was not “significant” enough to warrant a shutdown has now tested positive himself.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with coronavirus, which he believes he contracted during a campaign event on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, as a law enforcement official and elected leader, we do not have the luxury of staying home,” Lamb wrote on Facebook. “This line of work is inherently dangerous, and that is a risk we take when we sign up for the job.”

During Saturday’s event, he was pictured shaking hands and hugging constituents and posing for photos, according to Pinal Central. No one was wearing a mask or social distancing.

Lamb said he is asymptomatic, but will self-quarantine for 14 days, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The sheriff was tested Tuesday as part of the White House protocols after he was invited to join President Trump and a group of other law enforcement officials for his signing of the executive action on policing Wednesday.

In early May, Lamb announced that he would not be arresting anyone caught violating Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order.

“I think people want to know that we’re going to support their constitutional rights. I felt (Ducey) pushed me into a position where I needed to make our stance clear,” he told the Arizona Republic at the time.

“The numbers don’t justify the actions anymore. Three hundred deaths is not a significant enough number to continue to ruin the economy.”

At the time, Arizona had recorded 330 coronavirus deaths. As of Thursday morning, at least 1,239 Arizonans have died and more than 40,000 people have tested positive.

The state has also reported a massive spike this month, with more than 1,000 new cases reported on 12 of the past 16 days, as of Wednesday.