Mayoral candidates quarantine after COVID-19 outbreak at registrar’s office

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney addresses the crowd in front of the Robert E. Lee memorial during a June demonstration. Photo by Jon Mirador

Eduardo Acevedo, News Editor

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and former mayoral candidate Alexsis Rodgers have isolated themselves after employees of a Richmond elections office tested positive for COVID-19.

Richmond General Registrar J. Kirk Showalter confirmed during a press conference Monday that three registrar staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. Showalter said 90% of her staff will quarantine until Nov. 17.

In a tweet from the mayor, Stoney said a member of his campaign team tested positive for COVID-19 after interacting with a staff member of the registrar’s office. Stoney said his office will isolate pursuant to guidance from the Richmond City Health District.

In the Twitter thread, Stoney said news coverage of the pandemic has died down, but it “doesn’t mean it’s no longer a threat.”

“This should serve as a sobering reminder that the pandemic is still very real,” Stoney said.

Since March, Virginia has reported 3,713 deaths due to COVID-19. Black and Latino people account for 1,317 of these deaths. In Richmond, 53.2% of those who died from COVID-19 were Black. Thirty-one percent were white.

Rodgers was one of Stoney’s opponents in the mayoral race and has begun quarantining out of caution. The former candidate said on Twitter that she has been tested for the virus and was at the registrar’s office near individuals who tested positive.

Stoney and Rodgers both stated they would be working from home during their quarantine periods. Rodgers took to Twitter to criticize the General Assembly’s lack of COVID-19 relief.

“Today sparked a fresh anger that under Democratic leadership this General Assembly didn’t pass paid sick leave or emergency COVID leave for VA workers,” Rodgers said in a tweet.

House Bill 5116, which would have required employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave for those that have to quarantine, was killed by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee in September in a 14-1 vote.

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