L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tests positive for coronavirus

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in uniform at a lectern
L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva addresses vaccine mandates at a news conference in November.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson for his department confirmed Tuesday.

Villanueva was in good spirits, Capt. Lorena Rodriguez, a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, told The Times.

She did not confirm whether the sheriff, who has been vaccinated, was boosted or say how he contracted the virus.


In February, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors moved to take COVID-19 vaccine mandate enforcement responsibilities away from Villanueva, who repeatedly said he would not fire deputies who refuse to get vaccinated.

In a sworn declaration, a retired chief highlights failures by the Sheriff’s Department to fully investigate gang-like groups of deputies.

June 21, 2022

The sheriff, who is seeking reelection, repeatedly criticized the mandate and claimed enforcing it would lead to a “mass exodus” from the force.

In lieu of the mandate, Villanueva required unvaccinated employees to get weekly coronavirus tests and threatened to discipline employees for insubordination if they refused to share their vaccination status.

After a tight primary race, the sheriff is headed to a November runoff against retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, who trailed Villanueva by about 5 percentage points.