ALBANY – Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Tuesday he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering from mild symptoms as he enters the final week of negotiations for the state budget.
The Bronx Democrat said he will work remotely from his Albany residence until he recovers fully. The state budget is due by April 1.
"After feeling under the weather, I was tested for COVID-19 and received a positive result this morning," Heastie said Tuesday. "I am currently experiencing only extremely mild symptoms. I am in frequent contact with my physician and look forward to a full recovery."
Heastie, 53, said he received the first of two doses of the vaccine on March 6 and awaits the second dose. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, 63, received his single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, 70, has received both doses of her vaccine, a spokesman said.
Traditionally the final, tense dealing and approvals of the state budget are done in the governor’s office with the leaders of the Senate and Assembly. That practice would seem unlikely to continue because of Heastie’s plans to work remotely.
"This is a reminder to everyone that we must continue to be vigilant," Heastie said. "Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing and get tested if you are feeling any symptoms."
Contact tracing to determine with whom Heastie has met recently is underway, said spokesman Michael Whyland. He said Heastie hasn’t met in person with Cuomo or Stewart-Cousins recently.
Heastie, however, had curtailed his public appearances and his personal interaction with legislators and the governor for most of the past year because of the pandemic. Assembly sessions and conferences with his members have been done remotely to help stem the spread of the virus.