City proceedings paused on Tuesday after Mayor George Fuller received a text message.
The McKinney City Council was about 15 minutes into its Tuesday special meeting when Fuller had been notified through the text that he had been in close contact with a friend who had just tested positive for COVID-19.
“I’m going to need to call us into recess for a minute,” Fuller said at the meeting. “I have to discuss something with our city manager and attorney, if that’s OK.”
When the open portion of the meeting resumed, Fuller was not on the dais. Mayor Pro Tem Rainey Rogers announced that out of an abundance of caution, the mayor was joining the meeting from another room.
“I’m sure it’s nothing, but we appreciate his willingness to join us from another room by himself,” Rogers said.
Fuller’s friend had received multiple negative COVID-19 tests and had been told by a doctor that he most likely did not have the virus. As a result, Fuller said in a Thursday interview, he and his wife, Maylee, had decided it was safe to visit the friend and his wife on Sunday to drop off a meal.
“We went over, brought dinner, we visited with them for a while,” Fuller said. “They stayed across the room with a mask on.”
On Tuesday, however, the friend told Fuller through text that he had tested positive.
Fuller announced the next day that he and his wife had both gotten COVID-19 tests. Later that afternoon, he announced that Maylee had received a positive test. Fuller had tested negative. Going by what medical professionals have told the couple, however, Fuller said it was unlikely that they had caught the virus from his friend. Maylee had not been feeling well, he said, but the timing between their Sunday visit and her symptom onset was too short to imply that she had caught the virus from that friend.
“Of course, our friends are very happy because they felt horrible that we would have caught it from them,” Fuller said on Thursday.
That also means the mayor and his wife don’t know where they could have gotten the virus from.
This isn’t the McKinney mayor’s first personal run-in with the pandemic-inducing virus. His daughter contracted COVID-19 in the early part of the pandemic, and his son, who is in the Army, also currently has COVID-19, Fuller said.
Since his wife’s positive COVID-19 test, Fuller said he has continued to self-quarantine.
“The only contact I'm having is from my second-floor balcony to my son and others that work for me from afar while they're outside downstairs,” he said. “So I'm having no personal contact, and I'm staying quarantined.”
Fuller said while he has seen an outpouring of support, there are always the few that are “hate-driven.” He also said the politicization of the pandemic was unfortunate.
“This is a medical issue,” he said. “It's not a political issue. But our national leadership has absolutely made it a political issue.”
For the McKinney mayor, taking on a possible COVID-19 exposure as a public figure is stressful.
“I've got a certain segment of the population that subscribes to the thought that this is a hoax, it's nothing but a flu,” he said, “yet you're talking to somebody that has lost several friends to it, has watched my daughter be tremendously sick for a very extended period of time, that has a son in the Army with it and now my wife has it and she has been sick. So for me, I happen to know that it is something very real.”