Washington mayor tests positive for COVID-19

Published 7:34 pm Thursday, July 16, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Washington mayor Mac Hodges says he has tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday evening, Hodges presided over the monthly meeting of the Washington City Council, and according to City Manager Jonathan Russell, all the employees that came into contact with the mayor are being tested.

“We’ve done kind of an analysis of the whole situation, and we think it’s an isolated incident in the case of the mayor,” Russell said.

Aside from the Hodges, councilmen William Pitt, Richard Brooks and Donald Sadler attended the meeting in person. Councilwomen Virginia Finnerty and Betsy Kane attended remotely. Russell said those council members who were present have been encouraged to get tested.

“The staff that were there have all been tested,” Russell said. “That’s something we can control a little more than the elected officials. They have a little more leeway on their decision, but after speaking with them, they’re all anticipating being tested to slow the spread.”

Russell said he was the only city staff member in attendance for the entirety of the meeting, with a few staff giving brief reports either virtually or while meeting social distancing requirements and wearing facemasks. So far, Russell said none of the employees’ tests have come back positive.

“The vast majority of participants in the council meeting this past Monday didn’t really meet the threshold for exposure,” Russell said. “They’ve been made aware of the situation. I think myself and one other contract employee was in the room greater than 10 minutes.”

So far, Hodges says he has experienced minor symptoms intermittently for the past three days, including fever, chills and a cough.

“I feel halfway normal,” Hodges said Thursday afternoon. “I’ve got a little cough, but the temperature’s gone down. At about 4 o’clock, the temperature tries to jump up and from 4 to 6 p.m., I get chills. I get through with that and then the fever starts breaking and I sweat for a little while. It usually takes about three hours, every day for the last three days. It’s miserable. But right now, I just got through doing all that.”

The mayor said he went to a doctor Monday with a scratchy throat and no fever, and was prescribed a Z-pack for allergies. When the antibiotics failed to produce results, he went back to the doctor on Wednesday and was tested for COVID-19. The results came back positive Thursday, he said.

Now self-isolating at home, Hodges says he’s unsure where he contracted the virus. He’s encouraging others to wear a mask and take extra precautions in public.

“I get that report from the health department and two weeks ago there were about 50 (cases) and now there are about 178,” Hodges said. “It’s out there now. I guess what you do is wear a mask and if you’ve got underlying conditions, stay home. It’s here. It’s in Beaufort County.”