North Stormont Mayor Jim Wert quarantining at home but has tested negative; watch the council meeting

Wert and family test negative but have been in self-quarantine after farm employee tests positive

BERWICK — With Mayor Jim Wert at home in self-admitted quarantine, members of North Stormont Council conducted Tuesday night’s regular meeting as a combination virtual and in-person affair.

In an unusual move, Depty Mayor Frank Landry chaired the meeting, even as Wert took part remotely. Wert explained that putting Landry in the chair for the session was necessary for practical reasons, including proximity of staff at township headquarters to assist the chair as well as Wert’s own problematic Internet connection at home. The mayor revealed he couldn’t leave home as a result of being in quarantine. He didn’t elaborate at the time but offered that “everyone” had heard the “news.” In an opening statement, Wert advised his colleagues and listeners to be aware that rural areas were no longer being spared by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wert called NVN the following day to clarify that he has tested negative for COVID-19 but that he is observing a quarantine until Friday of this week.  He took the test after a worker at the Wert family farm tested positive.

“We have several young lads that help us on the farm, and over the holidays, one of them contacted Covid,” he said. “He wasn’t very sick at all. But as a result of that we had to quarantine and be tested and we were all negative,” he said of the Wert household. He added that this Friday represents what would be the virus’s potential 14-day incubation period since his last contact with the infected party. “So, that required me not to go in [to the Council Chambers] last night.”

“As I said, we’re negative, and nobody was sick,” he reiterated, then echoing his words of caution from the meeting: “But I guess it just speaks to the virility of this thing, and we’re seeing it everywhere we turn. It really has the ability to move.”

“We certainly took every precaution to ensure we didn’t spread it to anybody else, and the young lad that works here is fine as well.”

This article has been edited to include clarification from Wert for the reasons behind his self-quaratine.

Watch the meeting, below.

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