St. Pete mayor-elect Ken Welch tests positive for COVID-19; inauguration ceremony canceled

The inauguration ceremony for St. Pete Mayor-elect Ken Welch has been canceled after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

Welch's inauguration ceremony, which had been scheduled for Thursday on the steps of City Hall, will instead be a virtual event.

Welch said he will remain in isolation for at least the next five days and will be sworn-in virtually from home on Thursday, Jan. 6, where he will also give a short speech.

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"Let this serve as a reminder to all of us to get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19," Welch said in a statement. "While this is disappointing, I am incredibly thankful that my current symptoms are not serious, and I keep in my thoughts and prayers all the families who have lost so much more to this pandemic."

He said he has been vaccinated and got a booster in November. Welch first tested positive Monday morning using an at-home rapid test, the results of which were confirmed by a second PCR test later in the day.