Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody contracts COVID-19; had gotten vaccine

TALLAHASSEE — Ashley Moody, the Republican attorney general of Florida, tweeted on Wednesday that she has tested positive for COVID-19.

Moody, 46, had been vaccinated for the virus earlier this year, she said.

“Thankfully, I am only experiencing mild symptoms and my family is in good health,” Moody tweeted. “I want to encourage Floridians to be vigilant about their health.”

The news of Moody’s positive test comes four days after she flew on the state plane with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Senate President Wilton Simpson to the U.S.-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas, for a press conference with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

At the press conference, which was in an open-air airport hangar, Moody also came in close contact with dozens of state law enforcement officers.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen, Florida Highway Patrol Colonel Gene Spaulding, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Colonel Brian Smith and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were also at the press conference and interacted with Moody.

Related: DeSantis visits Texas border, where Florida resources are spent on enforcement

DeSantis’ office did not respond to a text and email seeking comment late Wednesday on whether the governor would get tested for COVID-19 or take any precautions after coming in close contact with Moody over the weekend.

DeSantis received the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year.

Simpson tested positive for COVID-19 last December, just hours before he was to oversee the state’s awarding of 29 electoral votes to President Donald Trump. At the time, limited numbers of coronavirus vaccines were just beginning to roll into the state.

Moody’s positive coronavirus test is the second high-profile reported infection among vaccinated Florida elected officials this week. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said on Tuesday he had contracted the virus despite his own vaccination. Like Moody, Buchanan, 70, said he is experiencing mild symptoms.

Related: Florida Rep. Buchanan positive for COVID despite vaccine

Although the coronavirus vaccines have proven effective in preventing severe illness, they are not a surefire prevention against getting COVID-19. Florida is currently in the middle of a summertime coronavirus wave, with the state reporting about 6,500 cases every day for the week ending in July 15.

Hospitals across the state are adding COVID-19 patients at rates that are alarming to some local officials. The extremely contagious Delta variant of the virus is spreading quickly. But across the state, health care professionals are reporting that the patients they’re treating are largely unvaccinated.

Justin Senior, the CEO of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance Of Florida, said he believes Florida hospitals will be able to withstand the surge in large part because of the protection offered by vaccines.

“What becomes dangerous from a public health standpoint is if we see a variant that’s really evading the vaccines,” Senior said. “We’re not seeing that.”

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