Rep. Geraldine Thompson tested positive for COVID-19, her House office announced Saturday.
That means she will have to miss events scheduled to honor July Perry, a victim of the Ocoee massacre, including a last Masonic rites ceremony and the unveiling of a sign designating a portion of State Road 438 named for Perry.
“Unfortunately, my recent diagnosis means that I cannot attend today’s events. I am experiencing moderate symptoms and will be quarantining at home,” the Central Florida Democrat said.
“I have worked on appropriately honoring July Perry for almost two decades and am deeply saddened that I cannot be present for the road designation, which resulted from legislation I introduced last session.”
She still promoted the events, which she said marked an important moment of healing for the state and Ocoee community. The Ocoee massacre happened on Nov. 2, 1920, the date of the Presidential election that year.
“I am elated, though, that we are resurrecting the history of African Americans who lived in Ocoee a century ago and whose sacrifices allow us to exercise our right to vote as Americans today,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this very important, historical designation.”
As it happens, the ceremonies will take place the same day media outlets called the Presidential election for Joe Biden, who previously served as Vice President to the first Black President Barack Obama, and the election of Kamala Harris, who will become the first Black Vice President.
As far as Thompson’s health, the press release only noted the mild symptoms she suffers. It’s unclear when Thompson was tested or what prompted a test. She did not discuss when symptoms first surfaced.
The announcement comes a day after U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, a St. Augustine Republican, announced he tested positive for COVID-19. It also broke the same day U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, confirmed he tested positive for antibodies for the coronavirus, indicating he had been infected at some prior point.
Thompson is the latest member of the Florida Legislature to test positive. Sen.-elect Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, Rep. Randy Fine, a Palm Bay Republican, and outgoing Sen. Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican, have all tested positive and recovered from the illness.