Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson learned on Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
The positive result came after a test on Saturday, City of Oak Ridge spokesperson Lauren Gray said.
She said Watson has mild symptoms and no fever; he is just tired.
It’s unclear when and where he was exposed to the virus.
The city is not aware of any other municipal employees who have been significantly affected, Gray said.
Most of Watson’s meetings in the past week have been conducted by phone, electronically, or using Zoom, she said. Watson was at the Oak Ridge City Council meeting on Monday evening. In a comment on Facebook, Council member Ellen Smith said Watson thought he had tested negative, but that was due to a communication error.
Gray said the city conducted contact tracing, and anyone who might have been in contact with the city manager has been tested and will quarantine until they have negative test results.
Watson will quarantine at home for the next week, Gray said.
“This underscores the city’s message of caution ahead of the holiday season,” she said.
On Thursday, the City of Oak Ridge said it is alarmed by the 12.5 percent positivity rate for COVID-19 in the Oak Ridge area, and wastewater testing shows the disease is present across the city.
The announcement about the city manager occurred as new cases grow significantly in Anderson County, Tennessee, and the United States, with records being set in new daily cases, current hospitalizations, and in some cases, new deaths per day.
In Oak Ridge, municipal officials, who don’t have the authority to require masks, urged residents to wear them. The city also asked people to practice social distancing. That generally means to stay at least six feet away from people who live outside your home.
As of Monday, 14 city employees had been infected with COVID-19, and 32 have had to quarantine.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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