Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River sheriffs possibly exposed to COVID-19 at statewide conference

All three Treasure Coast sheriffs attended a conference earlier this week with a colleague who since has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Sheriff Bill Snyder of Martin County and Sheriff Ken Mascara of St. Lucie County said they did not come in direct contact with Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who announced he tested positive July 31, after attending the statewide sheriff’s conference in Bonita Springs July 27-28.

Mascara, who said it was his first trip outside the county since the coronavirus outbreak, did not return to work after the conference as a precaution. He took a COVID-19 test Friday and expects results back Saturday, he said. 

Snyder returned to work, spokesperson Christine Christofek said, adding she did not know how many people he may have had contact with. Everyone at the Sheriff’s Office is required to wear masks and social distance. Snyder talked to his healthcare provider Friday about what his next steps should be, she said.

Mascara confirmed Indian River County Sheriff’s Deryl Loar attended the conference. No one at the Sheriff’s Office responded to TCPalm’s multiple emails and phone calls seeking comment Friday afternoon.

Everyone at the conference had to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, Mascara said. Though 47 sheriffs signed up to attend, he thinks only 43 or 44 were there. 

Chitwood told the Daytona Beach News-Journal he intentionally sat in the back of the meeting rooms at the Sheriff’s Conference earlier this week and didn’t go near anybody.

Catie Wegman is a community reporter who also produces “Ask Catie,” an occasional feature to find answers to your burning questions about anything and everything — the more bizarre the better. Support her work with a TCPalm subscription. Contact her at [email protected] or 772-221-4211 and follow her @Catie_Wegman on Twitter and @catiewegman1 on Facebook. 

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