Arizona sheriff tests positive for coronavirus ahead of meeting with Trump

An Arizona sheriff who in May said that he wouldn't enforce a stay-at-home order imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Mark Lamb, the sheriff of Pinal County, Ariz., revealed in a statement shared on Facebook on Wednesday that he received a positive test result after getting an invitation to meet with President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE at the White House. Lamb was one of several officials invited to attend a White House meeting on law enforcement and the signing of Trump's executive action on policing.  

Lamb said that he received a mandatory screening from the White House and that the test came back positive. 


"On Saturday, I held a campaign event, where it is likely I came into contact with an infected individual," Lamb said, adding that he continued to be asymptomatic and would self-quarantine for two weeks. 

Lamb added that as "a law enforcement official and elected leader," he does "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," he said. "Today, that risk is the COVID-19 virus."

White House spokesman Judd Deere told The Hill that Lamb never interacted with the president before testing positive and that he was immediately escorted off the complex after a second test confirmed he had contracted the virus. 

"The protocols and procedures put in place by the White House Medical Unit and White House Operations worked," Deere said.  


The sheriff's positive test result comes as Arizona and several other states experience a surge in hospitalizations and daily cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Data from Arizona health authorities showed that 1,582 people were hospitalized on Tuesday due to the virus, a new high in the state. 

Arizona lifted its stay-at-home order on May 15. However, when it was first instituted, Lamb was one of multiple sheriffs in the state who said that he was against enforcing it.  

Lamb told The Arizona Republic that he felt the order was a violation of the Constitution and said that he didn't want to arrest anybody. He also claimed that the case counts in the state didn't "justify the actions," arguing that it was ruining the economy.

“I think people want to know that we’re going to support their constitutional rights,” he said. “I felt [Arizona Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Republican governors revolt against CDC mask guidance Trump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor MORE] pushed me into a position where I needed to make our stance clear.”

Health experts have warned that Arizona's hospital capacity could reach a breaking point if cases continue to rise.

Amid mounting pressure, Ducey (R) said Wednesday that he would allow localities to implement mandatory orders for people to wear masks in public, though he declined to impose a statewide order that some Democrats had demanded. 

As of Thursday morning, the Arizona Department of Health Services had reported nearly 41,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and 1,239 deaths that had been caused by it.