Mayor-elect Ken Welch tests positive for COVID, inauguration ceremony canceled

Welch to be sworn-in virtually and conduct city business remotely while in isolation.

ST. PETERSBURG – St. Petersburg Mayor-elect Ken Welch tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Welch will remain in isolation for at least the next five days.

As a result, the inauguration ceremony scheduled for outside on the steps of City Hall this Thursday, Jan. 6, will be canceled. Instead, Welch will be sworn-in virtually on Thursday from home. He will also provide a short speech virtually on Jan. 6.

“Let this serve as a reminder to all of us to get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor-elect Ken Welch. “While this is disappointing, I am incredibly thankful that my current symptoms are not serious, and I keep in my thoughts and prayers all the families who have lost so much more to this pandemic. Though we will not be able to celebrate in person, let us keep front of mind the significance of the day – the day that we begin a journey together, as one community in one city, toward inclusive progress. We will have much more to celebrate together in the years to come.”

Welch, who has been vaccinated and did get a booster in November, first tested positive this morning using a home kit.  A second, PCR test later in the day was also positive. The mayor-elect is expected to speak virtually with reporters on Tuesday.

Later this week, Welch will also be announcing several senior staff members who will join his administration Jan. 6.

Welch will make history when he is sworn in as the first African-American mayor of St. Petersburg on Thursday.  Welch will work from home until he is cleared from isolation and following CDC guidelines is expected to begin working from City Hall on Monday, Jan. 10.

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