Baltimore’s two top officials, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and City Council President Brandon Scott, have self-quarantined in their homes after being in contact with at least one person testing positive for Covid-19, The Brew has learned.
The outbreak of the virus comes at a critical juncture for both men. Young is scheduled to leave City Hall next week as Scott – who defeated him in the June primary – is sworn in as Baltimore’s 52nd mayor.
Scott is currently at home, where he has stayed since last weekend, testing negative and reportedly showing no symptoms of the virus. His swearing-in ceremony is still set to take place on December 8.
Young emerged in public yesterday after self-quarantining with his wife before and during the Thanksgiving weekend, his spokesman, James E. Bentley II, told The Brew tonight.
Neither Bentley nor members of Scott’s staff said they could identify who may have exposed the mayor and mayor-elect to the disease.
But The Brew has learned that at least one member of the Executive Protection Unit, the elite police squad that handles security for the mayor, tested positive for the virus.
UPDATE: This statement was issued tonight from Scott’s office:
“Since being notified last Saturday of a potential COVID-19 exposure, I have followed the CDC-recommended guidelines to self-quarantine. Since Saturday, I have tested negative for COVID-19 twice and tested negative on three separate occasions prior to.
“I continue to consult with the Health Commissioner and Health Department daily, and out of an abundance of caution, will continue my quarantine as long as the public health professionals deem it necessary.”
The self-quarantining of City Hall’s top leaders comes amid a surge in the pandemic in Baltimore, in Maryland and across the country.
The state reported 2,200 new coronavirus cases yesterday and 42 deaths associated with the virus, the most reported in a single day since June.
Maryland’s infection rate has also returned to a level not seen since June. The state has now reported 1,000 or more cases a day for the past 29 days.
Baltimore City reported nine deaths yesterday, bringing the total to 557 deaths attributed to the virus.
Veteran Worker Dies
Also breaking today was news of the death of a city worker as a result of the coronavirus.
“I am saddened to announce the death of a long-time DPW employee due to Covid-19 – Mr. Charles Johnson, a plant operations supervisor at the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant,” Matthew Garbark, Acting Public Works director, said.
Johnson tested positive for Covid-19 at the beginning of November and spent the last two weeks hospitalized in an intensive care unit.
“I, along with the entire DPW family, extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr. Johnson’s family and express our deep appreciation for his 45 years of service to the City of Baltimore,” Garbark said.
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