Vaccinated state school superintendent tests positive for COVID-19

The state Department of Education confirmed Friday that Richard Woods, Georgia superintendent of schools, tested positive for COVID-19.

Woods tested positive on Thursday after attending meetings Wednesday with the state Board of Education. He was not experiencing any symptoms at the time, said DOE spokeswoman Meghan Frick.

“He is fully vaccinated, and this is a breakthrough case. He is home quarantining and experiencing only cold-like symptoms,” said Frick. “We reached out to everyone he’d been in contact with to notify them, including the board.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta defines a vaccine breakthrough infection as the detection of novel coronavirus or its antigen in a respiratory specimen 14 days or more after having completed all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Woods is the second high-profile breakthrough COVID-19 case made public in Georgia this week. Channel 2 Action News anchor Fred Blankenship announced Wednesday on social media that he was battling a COVID- 19 infection that he contracted while on vacation in California, despite being fully vaccinated and taking precautions.

“Over the past two weeks I have struggled to breathe. I’ve acted like the biggest baby through aches and pains. And I lost my ability to taste and smell. Luckily that part is slowly starting to return. I think I smelled peanut butter today,” he wrote.

Woods did not attend the state board meeting on Thursday. Frick said Friday that he had started feeling ill Wednesday night and thought he had a sinus infection. He went to a doctor Thursday and tested positive for COVID-19.

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