Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, announced Wednesday, Sept. 15, that she tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from her office, Vitelli is vaccinated and only experiencing mild symptoms resembling a head cold as of Wednesday.

Vitelli’s spokesperson declined a request for comment from the senator.

In her statement, Vitelli said wrote that she is grateful for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“For months, we’ve all been wearing our masks, remaining socially distant and doing our best to follow CDC guidelines,” Vitelli said. “Yet, this positive test result serves as a stark reminder that the Delta variant is highly contagious, and we must remain exceptionally vigilant as we head into the colder months. I would encourage everyone to follow Dr. Nirav Shah’s guidance and get both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot to protect yourself and your loved ones. Let’s take care of each other.”

Shah is the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and has been the public face of the state government’s response to the pandemic.

Vitelli said she has alerted those she has been in close contact with in order for them to get tested.

“I wanted to share my positive test results with the public for the sake of transparency, but also as a reminder that we must continue to use every tool in our toolbox to protect ourselves and each other,” Vitelli said.

Vitelli’s announcement comes after Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, announced Tuesday that he had contracted the virus. It wasn’t clear Wednesday whether the two cases were in any way related.

Jackson was tested after he learned he was in close contact with someone who had already tested positive for the virus. Jackson said he is isolated and working from home.

“While breakthrough COVID-19 infections are far more rare, we know that they are possible,” Jackson said. “More and more breakthrough infections continue to be reported all across the state and country due to the highly contagious Delta variant. I’m just extraordinarily grateful for the COVID-19 vaccine, which continues to be effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization.”

There have been about 81,000 total COVID cases in Maine and 969 deaths.

According to the U.S. CDC, no vaccine is completely effective, but the vaccine may make the illness less severe, and the risk of infection, hospitalization and death are reduced.

“I would encourage others who aren’t vaccinated to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and their loved ones,” Jackson said. “The only way we are going to get through this pandemic is if we look out for each other and remain vigilant.”


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