Mexican governor self-isolates after meeting with mayor who tested positive for coronavirus

International

Concern grows in Mexican border city about true scope of epidemic given limited testing of asymptomatic carriers

Chihuahua’s State Governor Javier Corral waves at the crowd during the “Caravan of Dignity” in Mexico City, on February 04, 2018.
The march aims to demand the extradition of former governor of Chihuahua, Cesar Duarte, and that he returns 900 million pesos to the federal government. (ROCIO VAZQUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — The governor of Chihuahua says he will self-isolate after learning that the mayor of Juarez has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gov. Javier Corral said through a spokesman that he met for an hour on Tuesday with Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada, who on Wednesday said he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gov. Javier Corral Jurado (State of Chihuahua)

“Social distancing was observed during the meeting, but the governor will self-isolate on Thursday and Friday and conduct business from home. He will undergo testing on Saturday,” said state government spokesman Manuel del Castillo.

Cabada caught the virus from an unidentified adviser who tested positive for COVID-19. The mayor, too, is conducting government business from his home.

The fact that the virus is striking the political leadership shows no one is immune from COVID-19, even if they work in sanitized offices and make it a point to avoid sick people, Mexican health officials said.

“For each case with symptoms there are many asymptomatic,” said Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, head of the state health department in Juarez. “You can have the virus and not even have a headache.”

The asymptomatic cases and the limited amount of testing has been casting doubts on the official number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities being released by Chihuahua state. Valenzuela himself on Thursday morning said there could be up to 6,800 coronavirus cases in the state. Later, he said he misspoke and that the estimate should not be that high.

Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada (right) speaks at a Monday morning public event. Cabada has tested positive for COVID-19. (photo courtesy City of Juarez)

Officially, Chihuahua had recorded 729 coronavirus cases and 126 deaths so far, with Juarez leading the count with 466 cases and 104 fatalities.

Valenzuela said testing has been expanded and will continue to expand with the arrival of new equipment this week.

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