RENO, Nev. — Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Friday he has tested positive for COVID-19, saying he has no symptoms and will begin a 10-day quarantine at his home in Carson City.
“Today as part of my regular COVID testing, I underwent a rapid test and returned a positive result,” Sisolak told reporters during a call Friday afternoon. “I am not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and I have returned to my residence to begin the quarantine process.”
Nevada first lady Kathy Sisolak tested negative on Friday.
To confirm the diagnosis, Sisolak, 66, also took a PCR test, which detects the virus’s genetic material.
Sisolak undergoes weekly coronavirus testing. His last negative test was Nov. 6. He also tested negative on Nov. 2.
“It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint where I contracted the virus,” Sisolak said.
His positive test comes as Nevada is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases. The state marked a new daily record for new cases on Friday, reporting 1,857 infections.
Sisolak said he is cooperating with disease investigators from the Carson City Health and Human Services Department, who have recommended he remain isolated for 10 days.
Disease contact tracers also are beginning their work to identify who Sisolak has been in close contact with over the past week.
Sisolak has had two public events since Monday, including a press conference on Tuesday and a ribbon-cutting event for the new DMV in Reno.
“Most days I get driven from the mansion to the capitol and back,” he said. “I had one off-site, the ribbon-cutting of the DMV in Reno and then a press conference. Those were the only two events I had that were not just in my office.”
A slate of dignitaries, politicians and journalists attended the DMV ribbon-cutting on Monday, just one day before Sisolak held a press conference asking Nevadans to stay home except for essential travel amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases.
Those at the Monday DMV event included Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei and state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer.
On a call with a handful of state reporters, Sisolak reiterated that he is not experiencing any symptoms, but said he is feeling tired.
“But I’ve been tired since March when we started fighting COVID,” he said. “This puts a spotlight on (the fact) you can take all the precautions and it’s possible you can still contract the virus.”
Sisolak has had two staff members test positive since October, including his pandemic response director, Caleb Cage.
Following Sisolak’s positive test, his staff began working from home on Friday.
“The governor remains in constant contact with his staff and his cabinet and the work of the Governor’s Office will continue remotely,” his spokeswoman said in a press release.
In a written statement, Sisolak said his positive result should ” underscore the importance of Nevadans to stay at home as much as they possibly can at this time. There were more than 1,800 new cases identified in Nevada yesterday and cases are growing at a rate of 1.3% or, 1,402 new cases per day.”
Schieve told the Reno Gazette Journal she will quarantine for 14 days and will undergo testing after Monday’s DMV ribbon-cutting with Sisolak.
“I am feeling fine,” she said. “I am going to follow strict protocols and quarantine for 14 days. I will test randomly and will work remotely.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear a mask and continue to follow all CDC guidelines. Today’s news certainly shows us that none of us are immune to contracting Covid-19.”
She also wished Sisolak a “speedy recovery.”
Kieckhefer had planned to be flying home from Las Vegas on Friday afternoon. Instead, he decided he’d better drive after getting a call from Sisolak.
“He called me earlier today and told me I was considered a close contact (because of the DMV event),” Kieckhefer said. “So, I’m doing what I can to protect other people.”
Kieckhefer said he planned to be tested on Saturday and will self-isolate.
“We maybe bumped elbows and said a few words, but I didn’t have a whole lot of interaction with him,” Kieckhefer said of the governor. “I feel fine and will be following the necessary protocols.”
Follow Anjeanette Damon on Twitter @AnjeanetteDamon
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