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Gary mayor to be tested after contact with top health official who is COVID-19 positive
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Gary mayor to be tested after contact with top health official who is COVID-19 positive

Jerome Prince and Roland Walker

Gary Mayor Jerome Prince holds a news conference at the city’s public safety facility to address Gary’s response to the coronavirus pandemic on March 13. Standing behind the mayor, (from left) are Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker and Police Chief Richard Ligon.

GARY — Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker said he was tested nine days ago for COVID-19, and received the news that he was positive on Friday.

But he remains asymptomatic and in good health, he said. 

"I wanted to talk about my experience and I hope this helps educate the community," said Walker, who leads the Gary Health Department.

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As a precaution, Walker said he has been wearing a mask and gloves, and avoiding contact with patients.

While he was advised he could meet with patients this week, he said he is not meeting with them until next week, he said.

Walker said Gary Mayor Jerome Prince will get tested for the coronavirus because he’s been in close contact with Walker over the last 10 days or so to discuss the local response.

Prince told The Times on Friday that although he is feeling fine, he is getting tested out of an abundance of caution.

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"I thought it would be a good idea to get tested as a precaution and as a public figure," Prince said. 

Prince said if he tests positive, he will continue practicing healthy habits, and wear gloves and masks when he must go to City Hall.

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“If I’m positive, I will make sure I always have a mask when I’m in the company of other folks,” he said.

As he did Tuesday night, he said he will attend Gary Common Council meetings remotely — via video conference from the safety and comfort of his home.

Both Prince and Walker said they hope their experience can help educate the public on limiting exposures and staying home unless absolutely necessary.

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North Lake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from UIS. Contact her at or 219-933-3206.

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