Metro Louisville

Paula McCraney, the Metro Council representative for District 7, found out Saturday she tested positive for COVID-19, making her the first Louisville lawmaker confirmed to have the coronavirus.

Council President David James (D-6), speaking on her behalf, said McCraney is hospitalized but recovering. He said she had been in self-quarantine for the past two weeks after believing she may have been exposed to coronavirus at an event.

More recently, she had experienced a low-grade fever and chest tightness. He said she consulted her doctor, but could not say how she qualified for testing, which is in limited supply and reserved for patients who meet certain criteria. He declined to share McCraney’s location.

McCraney, a Democrat, addressed the her diagnosis in a statement on Saturday.

“Covid-19 doesn’t care about your socio-economic status, your race, gender, age, or address. It’s dangerous and the warnings about social distancing need to be taken seriously both for yourself and for those whom you love,” she said.

She described herself as “on the road to recovery.”

James said McCraney’s mention of race was intentional, given recent rumors circulating online that African American or Black people cannot contract coronavirus. McCraney and James are both African American.

James said McCraney wants everyone to “protect those that are around them, the ones that they love, and not participate in unhealthy behaviors, such as not maintaining a social distance, gathering in large groups.”

McCraney was one of several council members to participate in the most recent full body meeting via teleconference. James said future meetings will continue with teleconferencing. He said the council will proceed with legislation related to the pandemic and other city business.

“We recognize that the city still has to function,” he said. “And because the city still has to function, we still have to do the work of the city in order to even allow for things to take place that need to take place, even to deal with the coronavirus.”

He said McCraney is still working and will handle some District 7 business herself, while her office’s employees will manage the rest.

Metro Council is currently on spring break and will resume meeting in early April.

Amina Elahi is WFPL's City Reporter.