One member of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors has tested positive for COVID-19. Another, who told The Dispatch he may have been exposed, attended a public meeting in person anyway.
District 3 Supervisor John Holliman tested positive for the virus Saturday and could not attend the Monday’s supervisors meeting, District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders told The Dispatch.
Sanders, who had lunch with Holliman on Friday, attended the Monday meeting in person despite knowledge of potential exposure to the coronavirus.
Sanders said he does not think he posed danger to others by showing up at the meeting. During lunch with Holliman, Sanders said, both of them kept their masks on and maintained a social distance of six feet.
“I thought there was a slight risk that I might (pose a danger), but I didn’t have any symptoms,” he said. “My exposure to John Holliman was only two days ago and they say the incubation period is longer than that. So I feel like for a short period of time … if I social distance myself and wear my mask and everything, it’s not putting anybody else in any danger.”
A person with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms may spread the virus for up to 10 days since the beginning of the symptoms, but some people may not display symptoms at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The incubation period, which represents the time between exposure and development of symptoms, ranges from two to 14 days, according to the CDC.
Supervisors who attended the Monday meeting all wore masks, with President Trip Hairston, Jeff Smith of District 4 and Sanders sitting at the table with supervisors’ attorney Tim Hudson and Chancery Clerk Cindy Goode. District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks sat in a corner of the boardroom.
Sanders said his wife, Norma Sanders, had a fever Sunday morning but tested negative for the coronavirus. She has been instructed to stay at home and take another test Thursday to make sure the Sunday test was not a false negative.
“I’m sticking at home until Thursday anyway until she gets retested,” he said. “I took my temperature. Didn’t have any. I feel fine.”
Sanders said he will only seek a test if he displays signs of COVID-19, such as headache, fever or diarrhea.
“I don’t see any reason to go get tested if I don’t show any symptoms,” he said.
According to a series of policies supervisors unanimously approved in August, county employees must report to their supervisors if they develop symptoms or have been exposed to positive COVID-19 patients. They must then receive a test, self-quarantine for at least 14 days and remain symptom-free for at least 72 hours before coming back to work, The Dispatch reported. The CDC recommends a 14-day quarantine but said a 10-day quarantine is also acceptable, according to its website.
Holliman did not respond to a Dispatch inquiry about his health conditions.
Yue Stella Yu was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.