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CM Plummer tests positive for COVID-19

Get well soon.

CM Letitia Plummer

Houston City Councilmember Letitia Plummer has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first elected official in the city to have a confirmed infection of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Plummer, a first-term council member and dentist, has been quarantining at home since Thursday and received her results Monday, she said. She briefly went to the emergency room on Saturday to receive fluids, but otherwise has been at home.

Her staff members will be tested for the virus Tuesday, she said. Her dental office staff have all tested negative, as have her three sons.

Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin said the administration is working to ensure any council member or staff member who wants to get tested can do so Tuesday at City Hall, though they are still are working through the details. Mayor Sylvester Turner is scheduled to unveil his proposed budget Tuesday.

“We have to be careful. This is a great wake-up call for a lot of people,” Martin said. “We think this is over? No. For us, it’s just beginning.”

[…]

The council has continued to meet in person at City Hall each week, though members generally are spread out around the dais and at the press tables in front of the audience seats. Most wear masks, but they frequently are in close proximity to one another.

First things first, I wish CM Plummer all the best for a speedy recovery, and I am glad that no one in her family or office appear to have been infected. I hope that’s true for all of her colleagues and other contacts as well. This is a shock, but it’s not really a surprise. Sooner or later, this was going to happen to someone in local elected office – as we have already discussed, it has happened elsewhere, in some cases with fatal results. We all hope and pray for a better outcome here.

But look, it’s not great that Council has continued to meet in person like this, even with masks. Go back and read this link I posted in th weekend roundup. Even sufficiently distanced, and even with masks, having people in an enclosed space for a long period of time is a high-risk scenario for coronavirus. City Council, and every other elected body, needs to give very serious thought to transitioning their meetings online, like now. If the Lege isn’t working on a contingency plan for this as well, even with their next meeting not scheduled until January, they’re needlessly risking the lives of their members, their staff, their security and other support personnel, and everyone else who crowds into the Capitol every two years. If SCOTUS can handle its business over the phone, these folks can do so as well. The alternative is an outbreak that prevents a quorum or upends the elected balance of power, and that’s without considering how many of these people are in high-risk categories. Let’s not be stupid about this. Hold the meetings online, and don’t delay. I don’t want to hear any excuses.

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12 Comments

  1. Chad Khan says:

    Our prayers for CM Letitia Plummer for her full & quick recovery!

  2. Prayers for CM Plummer

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    They can meet outdoors. My guess would be that she was infected from her dental practice.

  4. C.L. says:

    Jason, what exactly do you base that conjecture on ?

  5. Jason Hochman says:

    C L, it would seem the highest risk, and since nobody else at the council has tested positive, and her family hasn’t tested positive, that seems the most likely, but I am just taking a guess here. The linked article in the weekend links said that most infections are caught at home.

  6. Jules says:

    Jason, which article? There is some dumb reporting going on that 66% of hospitalized people in NY lived at home before they were hospitalized. Other places include prison, homeless, nursing homes. It is not surprising that most people live at home.

  7. […] here for the background. I’d be very interested to know which Council member is voluntarily […]

  8. Jason Hochman says:

    Jules, to find the piece I mentioned, go back to the Weekend Link Dump, May 10th, and then click on the link associated with this blurb:

    So throughout most of the country we are going to add fuel to the viral fire by reopening. It’s going to happen if I like it or not, so my goal here is to try to guide you away from situations of high risk.”

  9. C.L. says:

    “…it would seem the highest risk”, ranks up there with POTUS’s frequent ‘A lot of people are saying…’ statements.

  10. Jules says:

    Thanks, Jason

  11. […] here and here for the background. At least now we know who else had been self-quarantining; that detail […]