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Mayor Cantrell Fails White House Health Screening, Blocked from Meeting President

Phoebe Jones
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell speaks at a COVID-19 memorial event outside of Gallier Hall. January 19, 2021.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell was unable to join a meeting at the White House this morning because she tested positive for COVID-19 during a health and safety screening, her office reports.

The test was administered at the White House, according to an email from Cantrell’s press secretary sent on Friday. She later visited a local COVID-19 testing facility to take a PCR test. That test result was negative.

“At no time did the Mayor display any symptoms, and she remains asymptomatic and in good spirits,” the email read. “She will return home as scheduled this evening.”

The mayor received the first of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine injections on Wednesday. The email noted that the current available COVID-19 vaccines do not produce positive test results for the virus, as no actual virus is injected into the cells.

Cantrell has made multiple public appearances in the last week. On Tuesday she presented plaques to a group of Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs who urged residents not to mask in the Black Masking Indian tradition. On Thursday the mayor shared a photograph on her Instagram account that showed her with a number of members of the Krewe of Muses. She was masked during both appearances.

The email from the mayor’s office Friday did not mention if any contact tracing will be conducted.

The meeting Cantrell missed included President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and a small group of mayors. Cantrell had hoped to discuss a stimulus and relief package for New Orleans with President Biden, according to a press release sent Thursday.

“The Mayor was disappointed to be unable to meet with President Biden this morning, but she remains confident that the new administration will be a strong partner for New Orleans,” the email said.

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