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Prominent Lexington County leaders deal or are dealing with the COVID-19

Lexington County, SC (Paul Kirby) – Several prominent and well-known Lexington County citizens, and in several cases their spouse, have either lived through or are currently dealing with the COVID-19 virus. Each one has had their own unique experiences, but most are saying it is no joke. All were extremely active prior to getting the strength sapping coronavirus and kept schedules that would tire almost anyone.

Senator Katrina Shealy of Red Bank made it known on Facebook this week that both she and her husband Jimmy were ill and had tested positive for the COVID-19. Shealy said earlier that she wasn’t feeling well but later test confirmed she had the virus after her symptoms worsened. She had been active in many community events recently, several of which were centered around coronavirus testing, but wore a mask when around others in public. “I humbly ask for your prayers, as my husband and I have both tested positive for Coronavirus and are experiencing the not so pleasant affects [sic] of the illness,” Shealy announced on her Facebook page Thursday. She made it clear her district’s citizens were still on her mind when she added, “I’m still working hard to provide our district and state with constant constituent service, albeit now and for the next couple of weeks from my living room,” before offering her offices phone number for anyone who had an immediate need. She also made a point of telling her followers that the virus isn’t something to take lightly saying it was, “No joke,” before prompting others to be cautious and wear a mask when they are in the public.

Likewise, Irmo’s charismatic Mayor Barry Walker sent the community an email Friday afternoon announcing that he and his wife had also contracted the bug. “I regret to inform you that my wife, Susan, and I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Walker’s communication began. He reminded that community that he was a kidney dialysis patient that went weekly for those treatments even while keeping a busy and hectic schedule. This preexisting condition was one of the reasons that Walker was seen wearing a mask regularly in public early in the pandemic and why he continued to be a strong advocate for their use throughout. In his email Walker once again reminded people of the importance of citizens using face coverings and following other CDC guidelines. Walker also said, “Please understand this virus is NO JOKE. While Susan and I are doing OK and we expect to make a full recovery, our symptoms have been difficult. We have experienced a severe lack of energy and neither of us can taste or smell. We will continue to quarantine and isolate for the next week.” He then concluded his email in a fashion that let everyone know he was still his normal upbeat self by asking everyone to, “Have a wonderful weekend!”

Back in central Lexington County another elected official’s husband had a bit of a different and brief experience himself although he admitted it did make him, “Achy all over,” while he was down with the virus. “I ached for about three days and took Tylenol,” he said while at a public event Friday night after he was over the virus and back on his feet. “I felt like I had the flu and then it was gone. I’m kind of glad I got it over with and am back to normal and ready to go now,” he concluded. His wife said later that his upbeat attitude shouldn’t be misconstrued to imply that his recovery process was complete, and he was 100% after the three-days period. “He won’t admit it, but he isn’t back to full speed just yet. Even though he’s over the virus it did rob him of his strength and he still gets tired quicker than he normally did. I’m trying to get him to take it a little easier,” she said. People who have experienced and overcome the coronavirus have antibodies in their system and those have been used in blood products in some cases as a treatment to help others who were often gravely ill with the COVID-19.

Many Lexington County leaders have firmly stayed in the “no mandatory mask ordinance” column saying that people have the right to do what’s best for them. While none have suggested publicly that the virus is a hoax, they have followed SC Governor McMaster’s lead and left the decision to mask up to each individual citizen. Many of the county's towns and cities have been a bit more forceful adopting these ordinances although no one has said publicly they experienced any heavy-handed tactics anywhere in the county as a result of the mandatory mask rules.

In Irmo, the Lexington County town where Walker was elected mayor last year, they do have a mandatory mask ordinance, but he recently advocated for a loosening of restrictions that the government had placed on eateries. He said in a letter that business owners had been unfairly impacted by the limits placed on them by the government and he too felt that people could be responsible enough to make their own choices and follow all the necessary precautions to make the spread of the virus difficult.


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