City commissioner tests positive for COVID-19

Brownsville City Commissioner Ben Neece announced this week he tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on June 29 and is now virus free after quarantining for weeks and testing negative on July 24.

The city commissioner said he hopes to bring awareness and emphasize the seriousness of the situation in Brownsville. He added with simple preventive measures the community can return to normality soon and rebuild the economy quicker.

“Don’t take the measures that we are making as an infringement upon your rights, please try to look upon them as our sincere efforts to protect all of you,” he said in a video posted on the City of Brownsville’s account.

“No one is conspiring to take away your rights but rather we are trying to effectuate policies to engender to you that we are all in this together and that this community’s response to the virus should be compassionate, caring and considerate of all of our citizens, our seniors, our children, our first responders, our front-line workers and all of the rest of us.”

Neece continued on how he lost his sense of smell on June 25 and was administered the swap test on June 27. He said after a week his sense of smell returned fully restored and he is grateful to God that he did not experience any of the severe symptoms other community members are experiencing.

“I came out of the infection without any physical suffering but psychologically I did suffer to a certain degree,” he said.

The commissioner, who is also an attorney and musician, said he took advantage of his free time at home to play guitar and study things on the internet that he did not have the time to study before.

He advises those who test positive to not let fear overcome them and to have faith in healthcare professionals. He added meditation and prayer are very helpful.

“Develop a new routine, try to incorporate things that you’ve been wanting to for a while and were not able to until your new routine,” Neece said.

Neece advises residents to get tested if they have one or more symptoms. To get tested, residents can visit and fill a questionnaire that will be reviewed by healthcare professionals to determine eligibility.

The city is funding the test for those who do not have insurance.