RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he will be in quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure after a campaign team member tested positive for the after they interacted with staff at the Richmond City Registrar, where there have been positive cases.
Kirk Showalter, General Registrar, announced that 90% of the staff at the Richmond City Registrar is under quarantine after three people tested positive for COVID-19.
Stoney released the following statement regarding the matter:
"A member of my campaign team has tested positive for the coronavirus after interacting with the staff of the Registrar’s Office last week. Based on guidance from the Richmond City Health District and pursuant to City of Richmond employee protocol, my office and I will be isolating for the time being. My staff and I are well prepared to serve the residents of Richmond from home. It’s the safe, responsible thing to do while RCHD traces possible exposures stemming from the Registrar’s Office.
“This should serve as a sobering reminder that the pandemic is very real. Just because it’s not in the headlines doesn’t mean it’s no longer a threat. Please, monitor yourself for symptoms and take advantage of the resources offered by our Health District.”
Mayoral candidate Alexsis Rodgers posted on Twitter that she will be quarantined after being around staff and individuals who have tested positive at the registrars.
“At this point, many of those recommendations are very overly cautious,” Richmond Health Director Dr. Danny Avula said.
Showalter says there was a delayed opening due to the two COVID-19 cases who were in the office last week, and another on Monday. The first case was discovered on Election Day.
The second case was learned about on Friday, and a third person has tested positive Monday morning. Everyone who came in contact with infected persons was notified.
“The first case we knew was in the office on Election Day, the other case - which we learned about Friday - was in fact in the office on Election Day and also in the field, and [the case] I knew about today has been continuously in the office,” said Showalter.
The registrar’s office says they are working with the Virginia Department of Health for contact tracing, as well as practicing social distancing and health guidelines.
Staff was asked to clean their workspaces and the building was deep cleaned on Nov. 6 and will be deep cleaned again Monday.
“The remaining employees self-identified as not having been in contact prolonged with the infected individual, meaning that they were not within 6 feet of the individual for 15 minutes during a 24 hour period,” Showalter said.
“We haven’t quite completed all of the details of the investigation in terms of points of exposure...where was the onset of symptoms. All of that is happening as we speak,” Avula said.
Richmond Public Schools said three election officials from the registrar’s office who tested positive were at Cardinal Elementary School, Elizabeth Redd Elementary School, George Wythe High School., G.H. Reid Elementary School, J.L. Francis Elementary School, Lucille M. Brown Middle School, Miles J. Jones Elementary School, River City Middle School, Swansboro Elementary School and Thomas C. Boushall Middle School on Election Day.
Anyone who was at those locations is asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
Showalter says the staff quarantine does not impact the central absentee team.
Election figures from Tuesday will be finalized on Nov. 10, but provisional ballots may not be finished until the end of the week.
“We do not expect to be able to complete the provisional ballot meeting by [Tuesday]; I’ve been in contact with the Virginia Department of Elections and they will be assisting my office on researching those, since my staff are not available to do that and we will have the board meeting at as quickly as we can after we get this thoroughly researched,” she said.
There are 975 provisional ballots in question. When asked if those thousand ballots could decide a race, the registrar’s office said it doesn’t look that way now, they’ll have a better idea on Tuesday.
Watch the full press conference below:
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