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Mayor Fischer, other city leaders on self-quarantine after coming in contact with positive coronavirus case

A handful of local leaders are on self-quarantine after coming in contact with a legendary Louisville philanthropist who later tested positive for coronavirus.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mayor Greg Fischer announced via telephone conference call Sunday that he was headed into self-quarantine after encountering a person who later tested positive for coronavirus.

He says he attended the Speed Ball at the Speed Art Museum and had contact with one of the city’s leading philanthropists, Christy Brown, during the March 7 event.

Fischer said he feels fine and was tested for COVID-19 on Saturday but as a precaution, he had self-quarantined.

“Although I have no symptoms, I was tested for the virus in consultation with the Metro Department of Health and Wellness,” Fischer said. “I do not yet have the results of that test. In the meantime, I have self-isolated, just as we’d ask anyone to do."

Christy Brown released a statement to address her diagnosis. 

“Thank you for asking. I feel better each day but am told there's always a possibility of new symptoms so I'm taking it easy. I tested positive Friday and have closely followed protocols from government and doctors, and am working with the Department of Public Health in their heroic, ongoing efforts to keep us all safe. This moment reminds us so directly that physical health is interrelated with all other forms of health (economic, psychological, spiritual, etc.), so I'm going to try to make use of this time to close the social distance - at least in our hearts and minds - and have a conversation about these things online even while I am physically isolated.”

Other attendees at the Speed Museum event include University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi and Congressman John Yarmuth.

Rep. Yarmuth released a statement Sunday afternoon and said Brown didn’t show any obvious signs of symptoms when the mingled during the event. He said he sought the advice of his doctor and will self-quarantine for the remainder of the week.  

Credit: Rep. John Yarmuth
A 2017 photo of Congressman John Yarmuth and philanthropist Christy Owsley Brown

“As I telework from home this week, I will continue to stay in touch with Federal, State, and local officials as we all work to combat this pandemic. I continue to urge all members of the public to practice social distancing and follow all Centers for Disease Control and Kentucky Department for Public Health guidelines to keep yourselves, your families, and others safe,” he said.

Bendapudi said she hasn’t shown any symptoms and is also in self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution.

“It is always an honor to lead UofL and for now I will be doing so remotely. The health and safety of our Cardinal community is my number one priority,” she announced via Twitter.

An official with the University of Louisville said she has not been tested yet.

Governor Andy Beshear announced he also attended that event and was made aware Brown’s case. He told reporters Sunday that he was recently tested, and it came back negative.

Fischer believes he may have a negative test result and says he may return to regular contact with people around March 21.

Until then, he will continue business over the internet and phone.

Speed Museum officials released a statement on Sunday:

The Speed Art Museum learned this weekend that two guests who attended the Speed Ball on Saturday, March 7, later tested positive for COVID-19. Director Stephen Reily was made aware of the first case on Saturday (shortly after the patient tested positive) and notified Museum staff via email Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon Reily learned that another Ball guest had tested positive for COVID-19. Both were asymptomatic at the time of the Ball. 

The Speed Museum announced they would close to the public through March 31. They don’t believe any of the museum workers have shown any symptoms. Those employees will be allowed to work from home.

Until then, they say they will continue their mission of “inviting everyone to celebrate art, forever.” 

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