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Mayor-elect Gainey tests negative for COVID-19 on more accurate PCR test

The Democratic Party candidate for Mayor of Pittsburgh in the 2021 election, Ed Gainey, addresses the people gathered for Pennsylvania's Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro's campaign launch for Pennsylvania governor, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Pittsburgh.
Keith Srakocic
Ed Gainey on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

A follow-up, and more accurate, COVID test for Mayor-elect Ed Gainey indicates that he has not contracted the coronavirus, according to a statement issued around lunchtime Wednesday.

"[I]t is extremely important that everybody in Pittsburgh get a COVID-19 vaccine and a booster, and that everyone use recommended masking procedures when in public spaces," said Gainey. "[T]he risk from COVID-19, including from its new variant Omicron, is still a major public health threat."

Gainey has been touting his vaccination status since this past spring, and he says he has received a booster shot since then.

During a previously scheduled Monday press conference that had hastily been switched to a Zoom meeting, he revealed that while he had no symptoms of the disease, he had taken a rapid test that morning after being notified of an exposure on Saturday to the virus.

The results of that test, he said, had been "slightly positive," a term that he did not explain at the time. In his statement Tuesday, he ascribed it to his primary care physician, who said it "indicat[ed] that further testing was necessary to rule out a false positive."

False positives are rare but not unheard of for rapid-antigen tests, and the PCR is the gold standard for accuracy.

He is set to be sworn in on January 3.

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.