ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. — The Rockdale County sheriff is issuing an urgent reminder for people to take all precautions they can to stop the spread the COVID-19 coronavirus after he himself started feeling ill after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
Sheriff Eric J. Levett shared the message on his office's Facebook page Wednesday night, explaining that he began to feel ill shortly after lunch Friday, March 27.
"I went home and checked my temperature and it was elevated. I then contacted my primary physician who advised me to self-quarantine as a precaution," Sheriff Levett wrote.
The sheriff added that he felt as if he were experiencing sinus and allergy symptoms earlier that week because of the recent days of extreme pollen, symptoms he said he experiences every pollen season. But after the discovery of the fever, Levett said he called his doctor, the health department and scheduled an appointment to be tested for COVID-19.
Levett said he is still awaiting the results of the test, which was conducted Monday. In the meantime, he said he notified all his command staff through texts and local officials through emails.
"I am making this information public because as of yesterday (Tuesday) I learned that one of my employees whom I spent some time received a positive test result for COVID-19," Levett said.
He added that he has been practicing social distancing since the pandemic began to take hold.
"I would like to make myself clear....I HAVE NOT BEEN out in public such as stores, events, nor campaigning since the COVID-19 epidemic began to spread rapidly," Levett said. "It is not a secret and the proper protocol was taken to protect any and all individuals that I might have come in contact with."
"My main concern is to overcome whatever my illness is and to continue to protect those among me," he added.
But Levett isn't the only law enforcement leader who has announced exposure to an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier this week, DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said she was screened by a telemedicine doctor after a supervisor she works closely with contracted the virus.
Meanwhile, Levett said as soon as the results of his COVID-19 test are available, he would release a statement "to continue my transparency as I have always done and will continue to do."
He closed with this plea to the residents of Rockdale County:
"In the meantime, I urge everyone to continue to shelter in place and continue practicing social distancing," he said. "Please take this seriously so that COVID-19 want [sic] affect anymore lives!!"
According to the latest numbers from the Georgia Department of Public Health, there are currently more than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rockdale County, with two residents from the county dying from it.