Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel — who is competing to regain that job in 2020 — has tested positive for COVID-19.
A statement from the Israel campaign says he’s hospitalized for further evaluation.
‘Last night I tested positive for COVID-19,” Israel said in the Wednesday statement.
“I am in a local area hospital for further evaluation. After experiencing symptoms over the past several days and at the urging of family and friends, I decided to take another coronavirus test. This time, unfortunately, the test was positive.”
South Florida has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. Israel isn’t the first current or former South Florida official or candidate to recently test positive for the virus.
On Monday, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced he had tested positive. Earlier this month, Rep. Shevrin Jones that he, his parents and his older brother had also contracted the virus.
“Like most of you, I took precautions, followed the advice of health experts, wore a mask in public, washed my hands regularly and observed social distancing,” Israel’s statement continued.
“Yet, despite this vigilance, I have contracted the virus. My outlook is positive, my faith is strong, and I rest in the strong support of loving family, friends and colleagues. While I am quarantined our campaign will continue, in earnest. Please protect one another, love one another, stay vigilant and fight, fight, fight for the health and safety of our community.”
Israel is one of 11 candidates seeking the Sheriff’s job in 2020. Israel was removed from his position over his office’s handling of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport attack in Jan. 2017.
DeSantis replaced Israel with current Sheriff Gregory Tony. Tony is one of the frontrunners in the 2020 contest and released a statement following Israel’s announcement he had tested positive.
“Wishing good health and a speedy recovery to Scott Israel,” Tony said. “Some things matter more than politics. Scott and his family will be in my thoughts.”
Israel first won election to the Sheriff’s post in 2012. He’ll battle five other Democrats in the Aug. 18 primary for that party’s nomination.