Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Has Tested Positive for COVID-19

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Image via AP Photo/John Raoux

By Mivette Vega

August 24, 2020

Jenniffer González is the ninth politician of the pro-statehood party (PNP) who has tested positive for COVID-19 since last week. She was in direct contact with several federal officials who visited the island.

SAN JUAN—Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington, DC, confirmed on Monday she tested positive for COVID-19. 

González is the latest politician who has tested positive within the ranks of the New Progressive Party (PNP by its Spanish initials). Since last week, some members of the PNP have announced that they have become infected with the novel virus. After the local primaries, which were held in two rounds on August 9 and 16—due to a lack of enough paper ballots for voting—members of the political party engaged in a celebratory rally.

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The resident commissioner made the announcement on a video she shared on her Facebook page. She admitted that being in closed-door environments with others had been a mistake.

At the rally, González shared the stage with many members of the PNP. On Tuesday, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, president of the House of Representatives, confirmed his positive status, being the first politician to do so that week.

Later that day, Representative José “Pichy” Torres Zamora also confirmed his positive results. On August 19, Edwin Mundo, electoral representative for PNP governmental candidate Pedro Pierluisi, also tested positive for the novel virus.

Senators Carmelo Ríos, Luis Burdiel, and William Villafañe are also PNP party members infected with COVID-19. Former party general secretary Omar Negrón is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where he has been hospitalized since last week.

On Monday morning, Pierluisi’s sister, Caridad Pierluisi, who is also his campaign director, was next in announcing positive COVID-19 results.

Her brother Pedro Pierluisi said he took the molecular test on Thursday, yielding a negative result.

As of last week, González was actively participating in a media tour that included in-person interviews. She also accompanied several federal officials who came to Puerto Rico for a visit to the island’s pharmaceutical industry. 

Among the officials who visited were Rear Admiral Peter Brown, federal coordinator for the reconstruction of Puerto Rico, and Peter Navarro, assistant to the President and director of trade and manufacturing policy.

On August 19, Brown shared on Twitter that he got tested for COVID-19, without specifying the reasons. The result was negative.

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