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Linn County commissioner tests positive for coronavirus

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Linn County Commissioner Will Tucker tested positive for COVID-19 last week and is quarantining while continuing to work. 

Linn County Commissioner Will Tucker tested positive for coronavirus last week and is several days into his 10-day quarantine period.

Officials say there is currently no need for others at the Linn County Courthouse to get tested or to quarantine.

The news was shared at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners. Tucker said he is no longer exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, but he had some last week.

Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist, researcher and early proponent of using rapid antigen tests during the pandemic, shares three big lessons she’s learned about their use.

It was during the first weekend of October that Tucker said he felt congested. He woke up on Saturday, Oct. 2 with tightness in his chest, though said his own medications were helping. He went to Samaritan Urgent Care in Lebanon on Sunday to get looked at by a doctor, who recommended he get tested for COVID. He took a rapid COVID-19 test that day which came back negative, though a PCR test – the kind that takes 24 hours or more to get results on – returned positive two days later.

Tucker said he’d already reported to the Linn County Courthouse that morning and attended the board meeting before finding that out.

County Administrator Darrin Lane said he was unaware of any potential  exposures with other courthouse staff and said that the employees are fully vaccinated and not exhibiting symptoms.

“We all do a pretty good job of social distancing, so the number of people who even would have been exposed for any length of time is very low,” Lane said Tuesday morning. “And the protocol states that if people are fully vaccinated and not exhibiting symptoms, we don’t have to test them and they don’t have to quarantine.”

Tucker is still attending county meetings and helping to govern. He attended Tuesday’s board meeting telephonically, making motions that were passed unanimously by the board.

“I would be at work if it wasn’t for the fact that I need to lead by example and the example is following the protocol to the letter,” he said.

Another way he led by example was to volunteer at the mass vaccination clinics at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. He pitched in wherever help was needed, but he also specifically helped by directing patients to ready tables to receive their shots. 

Tucker said he is fully vaccinated himself, making his a breakthrough case. He described it as “very mild.” His 10-day quarantine period expires on Friday.

Troy Shinn covers healthcare, natural resources and Linn County government. He can be reached at 541-812-6114 or troy.shinn@lee.net. He can be found on Twitter at @troydshinn. 

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