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Possible COVID Exposure Prompts City Hall Staff to Quarantine



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Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias is urging City Hall staff and officials to self-quarantine if they have recently been in proximity to a county supervisor who has contracted COVID-19.

Fresno Supervisor Steve Brandau disclosed he tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. Arias is concerned about city personnel that have had direct and indirect contact with Brandau in recent days.

“Today the City became aware that elected City officials and city staff may have been exposed to a person, not a City official, who has tested positive for COVID-19,” Arias said in a news release.

While the City observes significant precautions at Council meetings that include plexiglass partitions, wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent sanitizing, in an abundance of caution, I have asked my peers and city staff who may have been exposed to be tested, and self-quarantine per the appropriate protocols,” Arias said.

Those precautions should extend to members of the public that attended the city council’s Thursday public meeting, Arias said.

Arias said members of the city clerk’s and city attorney’s offices have been sent home, up to 20 staffers in all. Most council staffers were already working from home.

Brandau, in an interview with GV Wire℠, said he is unsure how he contracted COVID-19. He said he is experiencing mild symptoms.

Karbassi Self-Quarantining, Arias Tests Negative

Councilman Mike Karbassi said he attended an election night event at a private home where he had a brief interaction with Brandau. Karbassi said he immediately contacted the city’s emergency services director, TJ Miller upon learning of the potential exposure.

Karbassi would not share who else may have been at the event out of respect for privacy.

Even though it was less than 15 minutes and Karbassi said the two were more than six feet apart, he is quarantining and working from home out of an abundance of caution, though CDC guidelines say that is not necessary.

Karbassi plans to get tested Saturday.

Arias said he was tested Friday and results came back negative. He did not have direct contact with Brandau, he said, but had contact with people who did, such as Karbassi.

Quan At City Hall Today

Fresno City Manager Wilma Quan met in person with county supervisors Monday during a special board meeting. The listed agenda listed interviews for the county’s newly created chief operating officer position as the sole business item.

Quan was spotted wearing a mask and seated more than six feet away from supervisors. Four supervisors, including Brandau, and other county staff were seen without masks.

During Thursday’s city council meeting, Quan was in the chambers carrying out her normal duties. Only three council members were in chambers — Arias, Karbassi and Garry Bredefeld. Other members participated remotely.

Bredefeld said he has not had contact recently with Brandau and is feeling fine.

On Friday, Quan participated in a police promotion ceremony in City Hall council chambers. Video shows her wearing a mask.

GV Wire℠ asked the city for a comment, but did not received a response by time of publication.

[Note, 11/06/2020, 7 p.m.: the original report said that Karbassi attended a dinner party. It has been clarified that was a small private event.]

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email