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St. Johns County Commissioner in fight of life against coronavirus

Waldron voted against a mask requirement last week. Now he is fighting for life.

A St. Johns County Commissioner who voted against a mask mandate is recovering from COVID-19, his daughter said Friday.

Paul Waldron, one of three no votes on a countywide mask order last week, is still hospitalized, said Ashley Waldron Zapata.

Though the Commissioner is “still sedated and in critical condition … the hospital is working hard to keep him comfortable and continuously monitoring him.”

“His blood gas levels have improved today and numbers are holding,” Zapata notes. “Although we are not out of the woods, today has been a good day.”

This may be the beginning of recovery for Waldron, who “went into septic shock” and was in the “most critical of conditions” the day before.

Though Waldron is on the 2020 ballot, he is unopposed.

Waldron is not the only Northeast Florida politician to contract COVID-19 in recent days.

Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat running for state House, also contracted the virus.

“I will be self-quarantining for the foreseeable future and working with my doctors for the right course of treatment over the next few weeks,” Nixon tweeted.

The candidate first figured out she might be sick last weekend, when she said she felt “mild symptoms.”

Health workers traced her exposure “back to someone that came within my personal space with no mask and tested positive about a week prior.”

Nixon is the first Jacksonville politician to test positive this week, but the second to self-quarantine.

With the Republican National Convention headed to Jacksonville next month, Jacksonville’s Mayor Lenny Curry is self-quarantining out of COVID-19 fears, though as of Monday he said he had only tested negative.

“I learned on Sunday I had been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,” Curry said, noting that he tested negative for the coronavirus.

Both Curry’s and Nixon’s sequestration came a week after the city issued a mayoral proclamation mandating face coverings, with a lawsuit challenging the right to issue a mask order following.

Nixon is not the only active Jacksonville politician to catch a case. City Council Vice President Sam Newby, a second-term Republican serving in one of the five citywide at-large districts, tested positive in the early days of the local pandemic. He has since recovered.

Northeast Florida, as is the case elsewhere in the state, is struggling with a resurgent virus and a fading public will for mitigation measures. Both Duval and St. Johns County continue to see positive test rates above 10%.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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