One of the first elected officials in the Southern Tier has confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19. Binghamton Mayor Rich David made the announcement Thursday via Twitter.
“Late Wednesday, I tested positive for COVID-19. I’m feeling fine and will be resting at home. I will follow the recommendations of healthcare providers on treatment and isolation, and I’m working with health department staff to ensure proper contact tracing.”
According to reports, David had attended a news conference Wednesday in Syracuse where the New York State Conference of Mayors lobbied for additional federal stimulus aid for cities to deal with declining revenue during the COVID crisis. David said felt ill after the in-person news conference and opted out of an executive committee meeting, going instead to Auburn Community Hospital where he was diagnosed with the virus and stayed overnight.
The news director of the Central New York television station that assigned reporter to cover the news conference called it “shamless.” Sean Carroll tweeted: “6 members of our News Team are “benched” & hoping 10 NYS Mayors didn’t just expose them to COVID-19. We’ve done our contact tracing. NO Health Official has contacted us. I take total responsibility for sending our journalists to this shameless & selfish & useless event.”
Brandon Roth, a reporter at WSTM NBC3 tweeted: “Just had to get tested because of this “photo op” now I may not be able to go see a sick family member. “Leaders” should think more about the impact their actions could have on others.”
David also wrote in his Tweet: “Our area is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. I continue to encourage all residents to follow state and federal safety guidelines, including wearing masks in public, social distancing and frequent hand washing.
“As I said in my budget address Tuesday night, COVID-19 is a deadly virus and America is far from the end of this pandemic.”
At least eight other mayors at the news conference went into voluntary quarantine after David’s diagnosis, including Svante Myrick of Ithaca, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
David and the others mayors all wore masks and social distanced at the news conference, except when talking at the podium.