Mayor Bowser announced that a member of her executive team, Deputy Director of Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel George Valentine, passed away Friday morning. “My prayers right now are with his family, his entire team and of course, we will be supporting them during this very difficult time.”
Bowser said that she had learned the news only minutes before beginning her daily press conference providing COVID-19 updates, where she made the comments. She said she learned yesterday that Valentine had tested positive and the he had entered the hospital as of Wednesday.
Bowser said Valentine had been with the government for more than 20 years, having worked 20 years in the Office of the Attorney General before serving as the Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel.
1/ Today, it was with great sadness that I delivered the news that a member of my team and a longtime public servant, George Valentine, passed away due to COVID-19. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/sSD1hBYmDi
— Mayor Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MayorBowser) March 27, 2020
“It’s devestating for everybody, of course, and we’re very sorry,” Bowser said. “These are folks that are coming to work because they perform essential tasks, and we’re sharing that information with them.”
The news apparently surprised some government officials attending the conference.
As of Thursday night, the District reported 267 positive cases, 49 recoveries and 3 deaths. Valentine would be the fourth death in DC.
In regard to the loss of Valentine, Bowser said that contact testing was underway. In response to a question, she said that she did not believe that she had been recently in contact with him.
Asked if she would issue a shelter-in-place after losing a member of her executive team, Bowser said no. “Everybody in the District of Columbia is close to me and is a precious life, and we are doing all that is in our power to protect precious life,” said Bowser.
Get information and data on DC efforts to fight coronavirus at coronavirus.dc.gov
An earlier version of this story contained an error in the subtitle. The Hill Rag deeply apologizes for the error.