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Governor and Senior Staff Begin Quarantine after Director of Communications Tests Positive for COVID-19,

Gov. Ned Lamont speaking at a press briefing Thursday. On Friday the governor and senior staff began self-quarantining after Communications Director Max Reiss received a positive COVID-19 test result. Screenshot

Max Reiss, director of communications for Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, confirmed Friday night that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

By Ronni Newton

Gov. Ned Lamont, Chief of Staff Paul Mounds, and Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe are among those beginning the process of self-quarantining after another staff member, Max Reiss, shared the news late Friday night that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The governor’s office distributed a press release around 10 p.m. Friday, advising that a staff member had received a positive test – the first within the Office of the Governor – but was asymptomatic and remaining home in isolation. Shortly after that, Reiss released a letter to Connecticut journalists revealing that he was the person who had tested positive.

“I wanted to tell you first that I have tested positive for COVID-19. I wanted you to hear that straight from me, and no one else,” Reiss said in his letter.

Reiss said that his family had been quarantining after his children had been exposed at school, but all had received negative tests. “That includes two negative tests for me in just the past 10 days,” he said. Reiss said he is not experiencing any symptoms, and his wife and toddler twins are also asymptomatic.

The governor and senior staff continue to be tested twice a week, and until Friday there had not been any positive tests. Contact tracing is underway, and anyone who has been in close contact with Reiss will self-quarantine for 14 days. “Close contact” has been defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more.

Reiss said he wears a mask during all interactions within the public, “but transmission can happen anywhere.” He urged anyone who has been in close contact with him in the past 24 hours to take necessary steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“We are taking this case seriously and observing all protocols to keep the governor, his family, and all of our staff members and their families safe,” Mounds said in a statement. “While this is the first case within our administration, tens of thousands of Connecticut residents have experienced COVID-19, and thousands of others have lost their lives. Even in an administration with consistent testing of all individuals who interact with the governor on a regular basis and wear masks at all times, this is a reminder that no testing regimen is full-proof. As we continue to see positive cases, test positivity, and hospitalizations rise in Connecticut, this is a clear reminder that everyone must continue to take proper steps to mitigate the spread of the virus. We must continue to wear masks, socially distance, and avoid large gatherings.”

No further information was available Friday night regarding how the quarantine may impact the governor’s press briefings.

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