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Updated: Yucatan governor tests positive for COVID-19

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Topping off days of travel to visit the public, Yucatan Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal visits Rio Lagartos the day before he announced COVID-19 symptoms. One man, without a face mask, uses his shirt to cover his mouth and nose. Photo: Courtesy

After a string of public appearances, Yucatan Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal announced has tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the 40-year-old governor announced the possibility he was ill and promised to announce the results of his coronavirus test as soon as he received them.

“This morning I woke up with a fever and other symptoms of coronavirus for which I immediately isolated myself at home,” said Vila Dosal, “keeping a healthy distance with my wife and my children as established by the health protocol.”

“Meanwhile, I continue to work by phone and by electronic means with my cabinet to continue monitoring and supervising the care of families and areas affected by the passage of Hurricane Zeta in our state,” he said.

The posting on Facebook was followed by hundreds of get-well wishes.

“Take care of yourself, Governor. Hopefully it’s just a cold,” wrote one follower. Some attributed his public schedule, which most recently involved touring flooded-out communities, to running him ragged.

Vila Dosal’s Facebook feed is filled with photos of himself mingling with the public. He had attended at least two photo-ops depicting him overseeing evacuation efforts along the coast in advance of Hurricane Zeta. Everyone in the photos appeared to be wearing face coverings, although distancing measures apparently weren’t being followed.

One photo showed him in conversation with a Rio Lagartos group that included a man covering his face with a shirt, while another depicted the governor on a bus in San Felipe talking to passengers.

Politicians appear particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infections. His second-in-command, Maria Fritz, tested positive in April and later recovered. At least two mayors and a high-ranking judge in Yucatan have died after contracting the virus. Mexico City’s mayor is another high-profile elected official who has battled the illness.

Over 21,000 people in Yucatan have tested positive for the virus since March and nearly 2,500 have died since April.

Federal health authorities acknowledge the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is far higher than previously thought, saying there were 193,170 “excess” deaths as of Sept. 26.

Of those, 139,153 are now judged to be attributable to COVID-19. Mexico’s official, test-confirmed death toll is only about 89,000, but officials previously acknowledged many people didn’t get tested or their tests were mishandled.

Authorities had previously presented an estimated death toll of 103,882, after taking into account mishandled tests. But the Health Department said Sunday they had analyzed databases to come up with the newer figure.

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