If there is one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that the virus is indiscriminate and can affect everyone and anyone. Tonight we go one-on-one with Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner, who on Tuesday morning tested positive for the virus. News Five's Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
The news spread like wildfire today that Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner had tested positive for COVID-19. Since Monday, Wagner had been exhibiting symptoms and on Tuesday it was confirmed.ï¿½ Of note is that the first COVID-related death was Hubert Pipersburgh, an employee of the Belize City Council.
Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor
"Woke up with a cough and I was like how can you go to sleep one night and wake up next morning with a cough. It never let up during the course of the day Monday and so I decided on Tuesday, I would need to go and take a COVID-19 test because I was expected back on the job on Wednesday and I wanted to ensure that I did not put any staff members at risk. And so I took the test Tuesday and it came back positive."
Wagner recently returned from vacation and tested negative. He believes he may have contracted the virus right here in Belize while conducting City business. Luckily his interactions with his colleagues at City Hall and his family were minimal because none have tested positive.
"Thankfully, I met the first stage of the vaccination, my family did their tests as well on Tuesday and all of them came back negative. And so that this where we stand as of today. I have been isolated since Tuesday from my entire family because the fact that they are negative and we live in one household, you don't want to put them at risk. My entire city council staff and myself took our first shot of vaccination and thankfully so after many months of deliberation. I will tell you straight that I had my own questions as well, but after weighing all the odds, I figured that listen to the medical experts that the vaccination does play a significant role."
So for now, even with mild symptoms, Wagner remains isolated at home for another two weeks. In the interim deputy Mayor Allan Pollard will lead the council.
"We have a very bright young man, Allan Pollard filling in that role. He has been filling in that role for me for the past two to three weeks and he will have to continue that role for another two weeks. But I am here constantly on the phone with the City Administrator. We do have a very solid team here at City Hall."