Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones stated in a live video Friday that his opinion regarding COVID-19 has changed immensely, warning residents of the toll the pandemic is taking on the county.
In the video, posted on the Butler County Sheriff's Facebook page, Jones said that the Butler County Sheriff's Office has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in 2022.
While roughly 80 out of 500 employees in both 2020 and 2021 tested positive for the virus, Jones said that around 60 employees at the sheriff's office have had COVID-19 in the new year.
"So anybody that tells you here in Butler County or many in other parts of the country that it's not bad, it's bad right now," Jones said.
Jones also said that roughly two in five people in Butler County are positive for COVID-19 right now.
"I know we all have fatigue," Jones said. "But we have to get through this and right now, in Butler County, it's off the hook."
Jones urged residents in the video to get vaccinated, wear masks and to avoid large crowds as much as possible.
"My attitude has changed immensely," Jones added. "I’ve had three employees in the Butler County Sherif’s offie in the last 12 months that have died from COVID."
Also featured in the video was Medical Director for the Butler County Jail Dr. Anthony Abdullah, who Jones invited to talk about what he is seeing during the current Omicron spike.
Abdullah reiterated many health officials by saying while the new variant is causing an increase in case numbers, vaccinated individuals seem to be doing well.
"That's not saying that if you're vaccinated you won't catch it," Abdullah said. "We still should mask up, distance and be careful because you still can catch it."
Jones added in the video that the Butler County Sheriff's Office is "fighting along" with residence in trying to control COVID-19.
"We need everybody’s help to try to get this under control so we can get out of these damn lockdowns and get out of these closures, but right now, we’re not there folks," Jones said.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Butler County Sheriff's opinion on COVID-19 has 'changed immensely'