By Paul Gessler

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott remains in quarantine at home, two days after he tested positive twice for COVID-19.

In an exclusive interview Wednesday with WJZ, the mayor opened up about the symptoms he’s dealt with since getting his test results back. He also underscored the need for city residents to get vaccinated to avoid the worst effects of the infection.

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“Yesterday, I had a few body aches, but today I feel totally normal,” Scott told WJZ.

Besides those aches, the mayor — who had his last public event over the weekend at Patterson Park — said he hasn’t suffered from any other symptoms, such as fever or nausea.

“Because of the vaccine, I’m able to do this interview at home and not in a hospital bed, not on the ventilator,” Scott said.

Based on his experience, he encouraged everyone to do everything in their power to stay healthy amid the pandemic. That means undergoing testing and getting the vaccine if residents haven’t already done so.

“Get tested,” Scott said. “Get vaccinated. Protect yourself at all costs.”

As WJZ previously reported, the mayor was vaccinated against the virus in March. His positive test results make him part of the 1 percent of vaccinated Marylanders to get what’s known as a breakthrough case.

It’s worth mentioning that the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against infection. Rather, the vaccine is intended to ward off the worst effects of the virus and keep people out of the hospital.

Asked if there was something he would do differently, Scott said he would step up his efforts to protect himself while out in public spaces.

“For me, I guess it’d be taking my mask-wearing to the next level,” he said.

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The mayor, who is routinely tested, said he is grateful that testing regimen caught his infection early. He took a rapid test Monday morning, followed by a PCR test, which is considered the gold standard for tests.

Last week, Scott attended a leadership conference in New York, traveling there by Amtrak train. He said mask usage was enforced in both spaces.

He’s uncertain when he was exposed to the virus. But he suspects it might have occurred on Saturday, the day attended a groundbreaking where he alternated between wearing a mask and going without it.

The next day, Scott attended the Parade of Latino Nations in East Baltimore.

“When you see pictures of me outside without a mask, that’s very rare, too,” Scott said. “Even from some of the events over the weeks, folks are like, ‘He didn’t have on a mask.’ There are pictures of me at the same event with a mask,” he said.

The mayor told WJZ he’s been cooperating with contracting tracing, which entails tracking down people with whom he had close contact over prolonged periods. Few people are considered close contacts.

“Fifteen minutes, within six feet of each other, having a conversation. That’s that close contact, but not the quick passing, ‘Hi, bye,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Dzirasa.

Dr. Dzirasa said the mayor’s infection speaks to the need for unvaccinated residents to get the shot.

“When we look at who’s been hospitalized with COVID-19, the vast majority are unvaccinated individuals. I actually think this is a reminder of how important it is to get vaccinated,” she said.

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According to the mayor’s staff, he will continue to work from his Northeast Baltimore home until he’s medically cleared to return to City Hall.

Paul Gessler