Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave tested positive for COVID-19.
He issued the following statement:
Like over 1,800 residents across Racine County and more than 1.8 million people in the United States, I tested positive for COVID-19. After experiencing symptoms and getting tested at a drive-thru community clinic, I am slowly improving and will continue to work remotely and in isolation until I am fully recovered. Staff and others with whom I came into contact were informed and are also working remotely under quarantine as they undergo testing and self-monitor for symptoms.
While it’s not clear where or how I contracted the virus, my case – and the continued increase in confirmed cases – makes clear that COVID-19 will impact our community for some time to come. While I expect to make a full recovery, many people are not as fortunate. It’s imperative that we take all necessary precautions – including maintaining social distancing, wearing facemasks, and practicing good hygiene – to protect ourselves and each other. I also urge residents to take advantage of the free community testing clinics available in Racine County, as I did, so our public health departments can better assess the disease and its transmission in our County.
This period at home has given me time for reflection, as I watch nationwide unrest and receive minute-by-minute updates of local protests. I have listened to voices in the black community about their anguish, disenfranchisement, and fears. I have looked inward, both personally and as the executive of Racine County government, asking questions we should all be asking: What are we doing to help or hurt our society’s march to equality? How can we do better?
The death of George Floyd was a stain on the many, many outstanding law enforcement officers that we have the privilege of seeing up-close every day, and has again shined a light on the disproportionate impact that use of force has on African-Americans and African-American men in particular. Know that your local public servants work tirelessly to protect you and I watched in awe and admiration of our local first responders this week – dispatchers, law enforcement, emergency management, crisis workers, and countless others. Also know that many of the very same local law enforcement officials who have sacrificed their own health and comfort to lead and staff the Emergency Operations Center, arrange alternative housing and supplies for the most vulnerable populations, work prolonged shifts while prioritizing the distribution of PPE to medical personnel over themselves, have stood at the front lines to allow peaceful protests to occur.
I also know – now more than ever – that we are imperfect. Systemic inequalities sadly remain. The access, information, and care afforded to me during my time of illness is not shared by everyone in our community. And I am dealing with the sad fact that more may now associate local impacts of this virus with a single elected official than with the many from less fortunate zip codes who for too long have been targeted and impacted at higher rates and greater devastation. Or with the local business owners who have faced stay-at-home orders and now curfews, plywood and nails — not with resignation, but with resilience and optimism.
This will all pass, but I am not blind to the fact that what is left in its wake will look far different than that which preceded this pandemic and recent awakening. I believe it can and will be better, but it takes leadership, courage, and commitment from all of us. On behalf of Racine County, we stand ready to be part of the solution and recommit ourselves to addressing the challenges we see in our own communities.
Please be safe. Please be kind and commit yourself to listening with an open heart. Please support local business. And recognize your first responders as we cheer on their growth and development for our collective good. We are all imperfect, but we march on together toward the common goal of peace, equality, good health, happiness, and prosperity.
Racine County Resilient.
Your Racine County Executive,