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Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott out of quarantine after negative COVID test

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott returned Friday to City Hall following a 10-day quarantine prompted by a positive coronavirus test result.

Scott had been isolating in his Northeast Baltimore home since Oct. 4 when he received two positive test results for the virus. The mayor, 37, is vaccinated against the virus but is routinely tested two to three times per week due to the public nature of his job.

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Scott said he had few symptoms for the duration of his infection — he did experience minor body aches and the loss of taste and smell. He continued to work remotely during his quarantine.

The mayor was tested for the virus on Friday and received a negative result, said spokeswoman Stefanie Mavronis.

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The mayor will resume public appearances Saturday with a full slate of events including a community cleanup in South Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighborhood, the Baltimore Aquarium’s 40th anniversary celebration, an African cultural festival and the dedication of Coppin State University’s arena floor in honor of former basketball coach Ron ‘Fang’ Mitchell.

Scott said he occupied himself during quarantine primarily with work. He appeared at agency meetings remotely and was a virtual attendee at community association gatherings. Deputy Mayors Faith Leach and Ted Carter made public appearances on his behalf.

The mayor also reported updating his Spotify playlists, playing the retro video game Tecmo Bowl and running his own social media accounts — to the chagrin of his communications staff, he noted.

“I did effectively troll the mayor of Indianapolis,” he said.

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Scott tweeted a picture of a Mayflower moving van at Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett following the Ravens’ stunning overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts Monday. It was a nod to the one-time Baltimore Colts moving team equipment to Indianapolis overnight in a fleet of Mayflower trucks in 1984.

Scott said he plans to be more vigilant about wearing a mask in public following his bout with COVID-19.

“I’m going to take my already overboard mask wearing even more so,” the Democratic mayor said. “Now that I went through that experience, I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can.”

Scott said his decisions on public health restrictions will continue to be driven by public health data and science, not his experience with the virus.

Coronavirus restrictions have been stricter in Baltimore than much of the rest of the state during the pandemic under Scott’s watch. The city currently has an indoor mask requirement for public spaces, while the state does not.

Scott appeared in public at the Parade of Latino Nations on the day before he first tested positive for the virus and took photos with multiple members of Baltimore City Council in attendance. All of the council members present were tested following their exposure, and none publicly reported a positive result.

The parade attracted an estimated 10,000 people to Patterson Park. Organizer Angelo Solera said his group posted notices on social media of the mayor’s positive test result and offered instructions for participants if they were feeling sick. No one contacted the organization with any symptoms, Solera said. Several participants were tested as a precaution, and all reported negative tests, he said.

Scott received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the virus in March. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel on Friday recommended booster shots for everyone age 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago. The booster still needs approval from the FDA, which typically follows the panel’s recommendations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scott said he will take the booster the “moment it’s available.”

“I was able to do work and make sure city business carried on,” he said of his quarantine time. “I wasn’t in a hospital bed, which is why we have to continue to push to get people vaccinated.”

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