Waterbury reaction to Mayor Neil O’Leary testing positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary was supposed to spend part of his Friday at a ceremonial mass and flag raising to salute Waterbury resident William Summa as Italian Mayor of the Day. That’s a program the mayor uses to salute the different cultures that make up Waterbury.

There’s a huge banner that hangs on city hall, labelling October as Italian Heritage Month.

Related: Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary tests positive for COVID-19

Summa spoke with News 8 about Mayor O’Leary’s COVID-positive diagnosis.

“It hit me pretty hard,” Summa said. “Neil and I are real great friends.”

Summa says he’s also friends with David Lepore, one of the mayor’s aides who also recently tested positive. Waterbury also rocked by the news this week that Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo also has the coronavirus.

RELATED: Police Chief and mayor’s aide among COVID cases in Waterbury uptick, causing more people to get tested

“My heartfelt prayers are with them,” Summa said.

One woman reacted like this:

“It’s something that got me thinking no matter who you are or where you’ve been, you can get it,” she said.

News 8 met her while she and her daughter were about to get tested at the Community Health Center’s free COVID testing site at 51 North Elm Street.

As for the mayor, he’s quarantining at home but continues to work on city business and staying in contact with his administration remotely.

Related: Waterbury puts plan in place to boost minority COVID-19 testing following recent rise in cases

He’s urging Waterbury residents to get tested as the city is experiencing an uptick in COVID cases. Anyone with any COVID-related questions or concerns is asked to call the city’s Emergency Operation Center by calling 311.

The city is also operating several free testing sites. You can get information by dialing that number, as well. Waterbury State Rep. Geraldo Reyes, Jr. adds the testing sites are quick, easy, safe, and private.

Since the pandemic began, more than 2,600 people in Waterbury have tested positive for COVID-19.

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