Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash has entered a two-week self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.
According to a release from the city, Ash was tested for the virus during a checkup on Tuesday and received a positive result on Thursday afternoon. He was unavailable for comment at press time but offered a statement in the release.
“Right now, I don’t feel bad and am available via telephone and email,” Ash said. “The city is in capable hands with our great department heads I look forward to getting back into the office as soon as possible. I encourage residents to continue to follow all recommended personal safety measures including social distancing and mask wearing to limit exposure and stay well.”
Mayoral Assistant Debbie Jessen said Ash’s only symptom is a hacking cough that he originally thought was from allergies. Mayor Pro Tem Fred Burton presided over city council meetings on Tuesday and Thursday in Ash’s absence.
“I’ve been in contact with him by phone every day,” Jessen said. “He doesn’t feel bad, but he’s cautious and wants to protect everyone.”
The Mitchell House, where the mayor’s office is located, also houses the city’s human resources, payroll, legal and economic development departments.
Jessen said employees working there were sent home immediately after the city became aware of Ash’s test result, and the building was deep cleaned and decontaminated later that evening.
City employees who had been in close contact with Ash over the past few weeks were also notified so they can have testing done.