Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen reveals COVID-19 diagnosis

Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 18:46:45-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen revealed on Facebook Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

"Leaders especially should lead, and silence can be a killer," he said of what he's calling "the good, the bad, and the ugly" about COVID-19.

Pridgen, who says he is now on the mend, says he chose to reveal his diagnosis in order to help others understand the severity of the outbreak.

In a 16-minute video, he said he started "to feel a little loopy" about two weeks ago, so he started taking all the necessary precautions.

"And then, all of the sudden, it hit me like a ton of bricks," he said. He experienced loss of appetite, the ability to taste or smell, and fever, among other symptoms.

Pridgen self-isolated himself more than 11 days ago even without a diagnosis. He received news of his positive test Saturday, March 28.

Pridgen was seen at a news conference March 16 with other elected officials including Mayor Byron Brown, leaving some to wonder whether those officials were exposed.

"After learning of Council President Pridgen's diagnosis, Mayor Brown sent him words of encouragement. The Mayor confirms that he himself has shown no symptoms of COVID-19, has been working from home whenever possible and practicing safe social distancing," City Spokesman, Michael DeGeorge said in a statement.

Pridgen says his son also tested positive and was hospitalized but is now recovering.

"If you do not have to be around people, try your best to limit public contact," said Pridgen, who is also pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo. "There are so many people out there who have it and do not know it."

Pridgen plans to be back at work this week, leading the common council's meeting Tuesday remotely from his home office.

"I just know God is amazing," he said. "All is well. The smile is coming back."