By Associated Press - Sunday, September 13, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - An employee in the Wake County Sheriff’s Office has tested positive for COVID-19, a development that could cause a disruption in responding to an unprecedented number of pistol permit applications.

Sheriff Gerald Baker, who announced the positive test Sunday, said he is working to put together a modified crew to meet with the hundreds of applicants who have appointments scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Baker told The News & Observer that there may be delays.

Baker said the office is processing about 2,000 permits a week and has a backlog of more than 4,000.

The division has about 10 employees, who will have to be tested and isolated, he said.

Baker said he is turning to staff who have been on leave or haven’t been in contact with the division.

Under state law, sheriffs’ offices in North Carolina must inform pistol permit applicants whether their permit is granted within 14 days.

The Sheriff’s Office has issued 32,700 pistol purchase permits in 2020, compared to 10,499 during the same period last year.

Baker has attributed the increase to the coronavirus pandemic and the unrest that has followed the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.

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