Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Mayor Tim Kelly listens to a question from the media at a recent news conference.

This story was updated Wednesday, August 18, 2021, at 8:55 p.m. with more information.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly announced Wednesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, despite vaccination.

Kelly, 54, tweeted that he had tested positive and is experiencing minor symptoms.

"After experiencing mild, allergy-like symptoms earlier today, I took a COVID-19 test out of an abundance of caution — that test result came back positive. I am grateful to be fully vaccinated, as my symptoms are barely noticeable; without a vaccine, my symptoms would be much worse," Kelly tweeted late Wednesday.

Kelly said he will self-isolate for the next 10 days but will continue to work.

"I will be working from home and in constant communication with my team to ensure city government continues to operate at full capacity," Kelly said. "My breakthrough case should serve as yet another reminder that the resurgence of COVID-19 in our community is real and that we have a lot of work to do to reach a community vaccination rate that will reverse the current trends. We can beat this, but only if we all get vaccinated."

Chief Policy Officer Joda Thongnopnua told the Times Free Press that the mayor found out late Wednesday afternoon, and everyone in the mayor's office who has been tested so far has tested negative.

"We are all out of the office until at least Monday, and we're going to continue to test daily, but from there we're just going to kind of look at test results and determine a decision after that," he said. "We are telling folks that have had close contact to get tested three to five days after contact," per federal guidelines.

Thongnopnua said the city will follow guidance from health officials for contact tracing.

The city provided the following list of events that the mayor has attended in recent days:

— Aug. 4: Startup Week press announcement at Waterhouse Pavilion.

—  Aug. 5: Vax 4 Cash news conference at Waterhouse Pavilion.

— Aug. 5: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga planning dinner at the campus library.

— Aug. 7: Minority health fair at UTC.

— Aug. 7: Back-to-school bash at First Horizon Pavilion.

— Aug. 7: Soccer tournament at Highland Park Commons

—  Aug. 10: City Council agenda session in City Council chambers, 1000 Lindsey Street.

— Aug. 11: Governor's Civics Seal recipient award ceremony at McConnell Elementary School.

— Aug. 11: MidTown Chamber council meeting at the Chattanooga Zoo.

— Aug. 16: Water Professionals Conference welcome at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

— Aug. 16: Water Professionals Conference reception at Paloma Bar de Tapas.

— Aug. 18: Presentation at the AIM Center.

Both Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, had direct exposure to Kelly on Wednesday. They each told the Times Free Press they are fully vaccinated and will get tested within an appropriate time frame.


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Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.