Butler County sheriff discusses COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms and quarantine

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

A week after testing positive for COVID-19, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is now symptom-free and counting the hours to end quarantine.

“Saturday at 12:01 a.m., if I am without symptoms for three days, I am a free bird,” Jones told the Journal-News on Thursday.

Last Friday, the sheriff was in his vehicle heading home to “lockdown” after testing positive for the virus when he told the Journal-News he had tested positive.

“It’s my third test of the past 12 months, and it is positive,” he said last week.

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Since then, Jones said he has had some congestion, lost taste and smell and had “an awful headache for about five days. But I never had a fever, and blood oxygen level was good. Checked it about every hour.”

For Jones, who is used to being at work daily and out in the community, it has been “hell,” he said.

But he knows he is fortunate to have had mild systems. At the beginning of the pandemic last spring, Jones’ daughter and son-in-law, who is an area police officer, were very ill for days.

“They were flat in bed with flu-like symptoms ... and these are much younger people than me,” Jones said.

The sheriff has spent his time in quarantine in a separate area of the house from his wife, Becky, and has spent a lot of time sanitizing and wiping down any common areas in the house.

“So far it has worked,” he said, adding his illness affected them both because his wife has also been quarantined.

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Not one to sit around and watch television, Jones said he has spent time working in the garage, shining shoes, cleaning out closets, walking laps in the backyard and working via phone.

“I have seen all the comments, some are online saying they want me to die,” Jones said with a chuckle.

Jones said he has always been a strong promoter of wearing a mask during the pandemic and has been doing so when he is out in the community. Masks are required in common areas at the sheriff’s office, along with social distancing.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is visiting essential businesses and restaurants open for business during the coronavirus pandemic. Jones was at Village Perks in Seven Mile on Thursday for a Facebook Live feed.BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
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Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is visiting essential businesses and restaurants open for business during the coronavirus pandemic. Jones was at Village Perks in Seven Mile on Thursday for a Facebook Live feed.BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

“I never, ever said don’t wear a mask. Not one time. But I am not going to enforce mask wearing, that is not our job,” Jones said.

“I don’t know you can beat not getting this unless you are just lucky. It was my time. Took 12 months.”

At age 67, Jones said he will not get the COVID-19 vaccine before his deputies and other police officers are eligible without any other conditions.

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