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Cornelius News

Cornelius mayor has the coronavirus, but is ‘doing well’

Mayor Woody Washam led Monday’s Town Board meeting

Oct. 7. By Dave Yochum. Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam has come down with the coronavirus one day after the socially distanced Town Board meeting where Washam appeared hale and symptom-free.

The popular leader, who turned 70 in August, did not participate in the Cornelius Police Dept. Parade of Lights last night.

Washam, who said he was feeling much better today, said that his symptoms were mild and that he would conduct Zoom meetings today. “Business as usual,” the second-term mayor said in a text message.

Town commissioners as well as town staff were recalling their recent interactions Tuesday night as word spread about the mayor’s illness.

The diagnosis is serious health threat for older individuals, particularly older males. The majority of the members of the Cornelius Town Board are male senior citizens: James Duke is 79; Michael Miltich, 68; and Denis Bilodeau, 66.

At the Town Board meeting Monday, Commissioner Tricia Sisson, 55, said she is “COVID-recovered and anti-body positive.” She did not say when she had the coronavirus.

The fifth commissioner, Thurman Ross, is 58 years old.

The mayor is one of at least three dozen new cases of the coronavirus in Cornelius over the past week, according to data provided by the NC Dept. of Health & Human Services. The NCDHHS reported 529 total cases in Cornelius one week ago, and 570 as of noon yesterday.

There have been 16 deaths due to the coronavirus in Cornelius, virtually all of them at AutumnCare, the privately owned assisted living facility on Zion Avenue.

The highly contagious disease, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans and more than 1 million people worldwide, has affected the political climate from North Carolina to Washington DC and beyond.

Former Town Commissioner Thom Tillis, now a US Senator, has tested positive as well. Self-isolating at his home in Huntersville, Tillis was photographed unmasked at an indoor White House “super-spreader” event in late September.

Both Susan Tillis, wife of the senator, and Sharon Washam, the wife of Mayor Washam, are apparently symptom-free.