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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.]

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email