(EAST ORANGE/ORANGE, NJ) - Essex County Sheriff, Armando Fontoura, the first in the state to suspend foreclosures and evictions during this pandemic, tested positive for COVID-19. 

After noticing he was running a slight fever, he opted to get tested at the Essex County drive through site in his command; the Sheriff is also the county’s emergency management coordinator responsible for COVID-19 County efforts which includes testing. 

In an interview with NJTV, Fontoura was most upset about not being able to be in the field with his team during this critical time. “I want to be out there with my people...hopefully I will be out there soon,” he said. 

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The Sheriff spoke of appreciating his daughter who is helping to care for him in quarantine. He has to wear a mask and gloves if he leaves his room, but mostly he stays in his room with the door locked. He is being especially cautious for the sake of his entire family, especially his wife who has her own health challenges. He reported his doctor said he only has a mild case of COVID-19, a fact he credits to being in good shape for his age due to daily runs.  

At least 1,272 officers are quarantined state-wide while 163 law enforcement officers have tested positive.

Essex County is the state’s second hardest hit area with 1,564 people confirmed as infected as of Monday; Bergen County is the first.

The Sheriff was clear in the video that he wanted people to see that COVID-19 is real, those on the front line are risking their lives in uncommon ways during this pandemic, and that people must stay home and abide by the rules of social distancing.