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Mayor, wife recovering from COVID-19; numbers rise

From the comforts of his home, Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said Tuesday morning that he and his wife, Janice, are still recovering after confirming last Wednesday morning that the couple had tested positive for COVID-19.

The five-term mayor spoke about the deadly virus that has quickly spread throughout his city and Butler County over the last two weeks during an interview on Q-94’s Kyle and Dave Show on May 6.

“Since last Wednesday (April 29), I haven’t felt real good, and Janice started feeling bad on the Monday before, so I got her a Z-Pac because we thought that we had a sinus infection,” the mayor said. “We decided Monday morning (May 4) that we would get tested after a discussion with health officials telling me what we needed to do, not me deciding what to do or being about us. Anyhow, we did a test and we got a call last night at 6:30 from Pam (Ingram) in the ER and the Clinic and she said that Janice and I are both positive.”

McLendon confessed that receiving the news was not surprising.

“That was not a shock to either one of us,” he added.

McLendon went on to say that both his appetite “does not exist” and that he has lost seven pounds in six days, adding that he has been drinking “lots of fluids” to help battle the sickness.

“I would not wish this on my worst enemy,” he said. “Anybody that thinks this is easy, it’s not, but at the same time, we’re OK. We’re not looking at like all the stuff you heard about in New York or anything like that, we don’t feel good. I mean, we don’t feel good at all. We have a fever; not a high, high fever, but a fever. Some days are better than others; some hours are better than

Tuesday, however, McLendon said that his sense of taste has returned, reporting that he had grilled a steak Monday night, while Janice whipped up her famous baked beans.   

Last week, McLendon said that doctors have classified the couple’s case of coronavirus as “light.” Nevertheless, he admitted there is nothing light about it.

“I’ll just say to you this, if this is a light case, I’m sure glad I didn’t have a heavy case,” he said.

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Butler County had 196 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths out of 705 total tests performed. That is an increase of 76 cases, four deaths and 214 performed tests since McLendon confirmed his case mid-morning last Wednesday.

“Our numbers continually go up,” McLendon said.

Of the county’s confirmed cases, a high percentage are residents of Crowne Health Care a 118-bed, skilled-nursing facility that currently houses 78 residents and is located in the middle of the City of Greenville.

“Almost a third of the people infected with the COVID-19 virus never show any symptoms,” Frances Coleman, spokeswoman for Crowne Health Care, said in a statement issued Tuesday. “In fact, the virus can go undetected for up to a week. This makes control of it in a closed environment like our facility very difficult.”

Neighboring Lowndes County is reporting 102 confirmed cases and six deaths, while Crenshaw County now has 43 cases and with one death, nearly doubled from this time last week. A total of 296 and 384 tests, respectively, have been performed in each county.

Though sick, McLendon is optimist with the outcome.

“We are going to be fine; there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to be fine,” he said. “But anybody that knows me, I’m not very patient, as you all know. It’s one time when you’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to take your time. I want to say though that we’ve got great people in the city to take care of everything.”

McLendon commended the work of Police Chief Justin Lovvorn, Fire Chief Tim Warrick, City Clerk Dee Blackmon and the all of the employees of the City of Greenville for their dedication and hard work during this difficult time.

Lastly, the mayor said that he was disappointed in some of the responses he has been hearing and reading from his constituents.

“In the last few weeks, I have been extremely disappointed in a lot of people,” he concluded. “I’ve been disappointed that people would have birthday parties and invite everybody knowing that you’re not supposed to get together and having poker games and people playing cards and get sick. Am I a little ticked off? Yeah, I’m ticked off. Did they give this to me? No, they didn’t, but they gave it to a lot of other people. Then, I’ve got people on Facebook that don’t give a crap about anybody else and want to talk about suing somebody, while people are sick. That is ridiculous; we are better than that.”