The sheriffs-elect of Fulton and Cobb counties have tested positive for COVID-19, and the DeKalb County sheriff is awaiting test results, after they joined in a group training this week.

DeKalb Sheriff Melody Maddox, Fulton Sheriff-elect Pat Labat and Cobb Sheriff-elect Craig Owens revealed the COVID-19 situation in a joint press release Dec. 10.

The three were among 36 newly elected sheriffs attending a Georgia Sheriffs’ Association training session in Pine Mountain. The training began Dec. 7 and the three left on Dec. 9, according to Saba Long, a spokesperson for Owens.

The trio said in their press release that while at the “sheriff’s school” event, “we were made aware individuals were in contact with the coronavirus.”

“We have all taken COVID-19 tests, and Sheriff-elect Labat and Sheriff-elect Owens received positive test results. Others are awaiting their results,” the release said. “In accordance with CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, we have returned to quarantine in our individual homes.”

The release was critical about the GSA.

“In the future, we respectfully request that the Association require individuals to have tested negative for the virus before attending GSA events,” the trio said. “We urge all Georgians to follow the advice of our dedicated healthcare workers and to wear masks and socially distance. While the vaccine is forthcoming, the pandemic is not over yet and we must all remain diligent to ensure the safety of our communities.”

J. Terry Norris, executive director of the McDonough-based GSA, was not immediately available for comment.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.