San Diego City Hall / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

San Diego city employees who attended Tuesday’s Council meeting, including elected officials, have been instructed to quarantine after someone in attendance tested positive the following day for COVID-19.

The mayor’s office consulted with county public health officials to enact safety and cleaning protocols throughout city facilities, Craig Gustafson, a spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer, said in a statement Wednesday night. That includes temperature checks at entries, a requirement to social distance and wear masks.

But after learning that someone in the Council chambers had tested positive, the mayor’s office began making phone calls Wednesday to inform every individual “who was in proximity of this person to request that they contact their medical provider to schedule a test and self-quarantine for the next two weeks,” Gustafson wrote.

Council members Chris Cate, Monica Montgomery, Vivian Moreno and Scott Sherman physically attended Tuesday’s meeting while others participated via telecall. Faulconer was not present at the meeting, Gustafson said.

Montgomery is the only Council member who sat in the chambers for the duration of the seven-hour meeting. In a statement, she said she took a COVID test Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m not experiencing any symptoms and will self-quarantine at home for two weeks, in an abundance of caution,” she wrote. “Our prayers are with the affected employee and the others exposed.”

Various city employees came in and out of the chambers Tuesday.

Councilwoman Jen Campbell’s chief of staff, Venus Molina, said she got a phone call from Joel Day, who’s advising the city on its pandemic response and recovery, alerting her office to the need to quarantine if anyone stepped foot in the chambers. Molina was not physically present, nor was Campbell, who participated remotely.

Molina said she was relieved Campbell didn’t end up in the chambers Tuesday because “she’s high risk, and we can’t afford to expose her that way.”

Campbell’s office has mostly been working remotely since March.

“We go in very seldom, so we pretty much stay out of the office unless the boss comes in for a committee meeting,” Molina said.

Day declined to comment, and deferred to the mayor’s office, which issued the statement. Cate also deferred questions to the mayor’s office.

Councilman Chris Ward’s chief of staff, Molly Chase, said in a text message her office would be closed and employees would be working remotely until they could get more information on how to safely reopen.

City officials also closed City Hall and sent all employees home on Wednesday afternoon because of a water leak on the 13th floor, which is above the chambers. The Union-Tribune reported that the building was expected to reopen Thursday after repairs.

This post has been updated with a statement from Montgomery.

Maya Srikrishnan contributed to this report.

Jesse Marx is a former Voice of San Diego associate editor.

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