One of the top city officials in Fort Worth who helps lead city hall’s response to the coronavirus returned to work Wednesday after contracting the disease himself.
Fort Worth Health Director Brandon Bennett tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-April and worked from home for seven weeks while he was quarantined.
Before he got sick, Bennett said he always took precautions and stressed safety to his co-workers at the emergency operations center.
"I would say to everybody there, I'd remind them, ‘You don't want to be that person. You don't want to be that guy or that girl.’ And then I ended up being that guy,” he said.
One day in mid-April, Bennett thought he was having an allergy attack as he arrived to work.
"I felt sick and I went home,” he said, calling that decision one of the smartest in his life.
As a precaution, he got tested for the virus.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
"The doctor even when they tested me, they said, ‘Oh you probably don't have COVID, you're fine.’ And then I came back positive,” he said.
In the emergency operations center, he worked alongside dozens of other city officials, including Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.
All of them were isolated and tested.
"It was scary because I was worried about my co-workers, I was embarrassed, right?" he said.
Only one worker tested positive and, like Bennett, had a very minor case.
“Little headache maybe, but really mild,” he said. “I was very fortunate.”
He said his case proves that if he got the virus, anyone can.
And despite his positive case, the precautions work, he said.
"All the people I worked with for hours and hours and hours and days and days and days, all came back negative because we wore our masks, we kept 6 feet of separation, we washed our hands, we kept our area clean,” he said “That works."
Bennett kept working from home without missing a beat and is now back at the emergency operations center – with a new personal appreciation for how easily the virus can spread.