RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and his staff are isolating after member of his campaign team tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, Stoney says the campaign staffer tested positive after interacting with employees at the Richmond Registrar's Office last week, where three employees have tested positive.
"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," said Stoney.
"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."
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Richmond General Registrar Kirk Showalter said three staff members have tested positive since Election Day last Tuesday.
Because of the positive tests, 90 percent of the office's workforce is under quarantine until November 17.
Showalter says only four out of 40 workers at the Richmond Registrar’s Office are reporting to work this week.
"We do have a few staff members not impacted and they will be opening the office and working on a skeleton staff," Showalter said. "It does not impact the central absentee team, they were pretty much sequestered, they have continued to work on the election results through the weekend. We expect that the election figures from Tuesday will be finalized by tomorrow. And some have some final figures on those for you at that time."
Showalter has asked the state for help counting and researching provisional ballots so the office can provide updated election results on Tuesday.
It was unlikely, Showalter said, that the elections could be certified by Tuesday due to the 975 outstanding provisional ballots.
"We want to give every provisional ballot, its due consideration. So it will take a little time to work through those. I'm hoping we'll have something on those by the end of the week," she said.
Showalter said her office took immediate action when they first learned of the positive test Friday.
"As soon as we found out, the individuals who had been in close proximity identified by the positive tests, were notified and immediately asked to leave the building," she said. "It's unfortunate one of those individuals chose to alarm the rest of the staff before we had a chance to notify them. But the rest of the staff were notified towards the end of the evening."
Showalter said of the three employee who have tested positive, two stayed in the office and one split time between the office and out in the field.
"We do follow the CDC guidelines of masks and social distancing," Showalter said. "We asked the staff in the morning to clean their workspace and in the evening to clean their workspace. We've had the building deep cleaned on Friday and it was again deep clean today. No staff should be concerned."
Showalter said she did not believe her infected employees came into contact with voters but added if anyone was in the building and is now experiencing symptoms to get tested.
"If anybody was in the building on Monday and is exhibiting symptoms and is concerned, there is free COVID testing, they can go online and find all sorts of sites around the city that they should get tested, especially if they have any symptoms," she said.
The office is located at 2134 W Laburnum Avenue in Richmond.