Government / Politics

Hollister councilwoman tests positive for COVID-19

Carol Lenoir said she began self-isolation on June 25 when she became ill.
Councilwomen Honor Spencer and Carol Lenoir had been attending council meetings in person until the June 23 special meeting. File photo by John Chadwell.
Councilwomen Honor Spencer and Carol Lenoir had been attending council meetings in person until the June 23 special meeting. File photo by John Chadwell.

Hollister Councilwoman Carol Lenoir confirmed that she has tested positive for COVID-19. She told BenitoLink on July 1 that she began self-isolation June 25 when she became ill, and disclosed the names of those who she has come in contact with.

“I didn’t wait for the test,” she said. “I have had very little contact with people this whole time. That’s why you don’t see me at public functions, and I missed a very good friend’s memorial service, so I’m sad I got it.”

Lenoir and Councilwoman Honor Spencer had been attending council meetings regularly in the chambers at City Hall, while Mayor Ignacio Velazquez and Councilman Rolan Resendiz attended via Zoom. Both women, though, were not at the June 23 special meeting.

“That’s why I was not there and it will be a long time before I interact with city staff in person,” Lenoir said. “As you can imagine, I am very sad to think I may have gotten any city employee sick. Those are all my friends who I value highly.”

Interim City Manager Brett Miller said July 1 that there were no city employees at that time who were working from home because they had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We have protocols in place based on the CDC and County Health to do our very best to protect staff, staff families, and the citizens from COVID-19,” Miller said. “We also have made great strides in setting up employees with the ability to work from home with remote worksites so that the city continues to run in an efficient and effective manner for our citizens.”

While Velazquez and Resendiz have participated in council meetings through Zoom, they were present at the raising of the Pride flag in front of City Hall on June 28.  

“Thanks for wearing facial coverings and practicing social distancing and being part of this very historic day,” Velazquez told those who attended the ceremony. “These days don’t happen without the courage of you all.”

Velazquez and Resendiz told BenitoLink that they each have been tested twice for COVID-19 with negative results. Spencer did not respond to BenitoLink’s request for comment.

BenitoLink also asked members of the San Benito County Board of Supervisors if they had been tested.

“I have been tested twice,” said Supervisor Mark Medina. “Negative both times, and to my knowledge, I don’t know if anyone is self-isolating.” 

Supervisor Jaime De La Cruz said on July 1 that he has not been tested.

“Due to my weak immune system via kidney transplant, if I were to get it my system will automatically tell me,” he said. “From the onset, my body would shut down. That’s why I will attend the board meeting via Zoom, as I am one of the most at-risk. As of today, I believe no one in our administration building has gotten positive.” 

Supervisors Jim Gillio, Peter Hernandez and Anthony Botelho did not respond to BenitoLink’s request for comment.

 

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.