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Maine House Speaker Fecteau tests positive for COVID-19

Ryan Fecteau
Robert F. Bukaty
Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, addresses the Legislature, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine.

Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau announced Friday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Fecteau, of Biddeford, said in a statement that he was isolating and resting at home but was experiencing only “minimal” symptoms. The 29-year-old Democrat did not say how or where he was exposed to the coronavirus, but added that his office is notifying all close contacts.

Fecteau had received the single-shot vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson, so he is one of 8,000 so-called “breakthrough infections” reported in Maine. Health experts say breakthrough infections are inevitable but that vaccinated individuals are much less likely to require hospitalization or die from COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated.

“While breakthrough infections are less prevalent, we know that they are possible, which is why booster shots are being recommended and authorized for many Mainers,” Fecteau said in the statement. “Vaccinations have proved effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization. My heart goes out to the 198 Mainers in the hospital with COVID-19 today, as well as the dedicated health care workers caring for them. Over the coming days, I will be isolating and monitoring my health. I will continue to work from home and rest up. I absolutely don’t plan to return to the State House until my isolation period has ended and I am fully recovered.”

The House Speaker is at least the third legislative leader to contract COVID-19 in recent months. Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash and Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic announced positive tests in September.