ReOpen NC leader says she tested positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A leader of the ReOpen NC group revealed in a Facebook post that she tested positive for COVID-19.

Audrey Whitlock posted to the ReOpen NC Facebook page early Sunday saying her two-week quarantine was ending. She described herself as an “an asymptomatic COVID19 positive patient.”

Whitlock is one of the administrators of the ReOpen NC Facebook page – which has helped organize two protests in downtown Raleigh calling for Gov. Roy Cooper to lift his stay-at-home order.

She didn’t respond to CBS 17’s request for an interview.

Smith said Whitlock believed she had the virus in January and contacted the Mecklenburg County Health Department. In the beginning of April, Whitlock was administered an antibody test, as well as the COVID-19 test. According to Smith, Whitlock’s antibody test came back negative, but she tested positive for the virus.

Whitlock wrote she was “imprisoned” in her home and being “forced” to quarantine violated her First Amendment rights.

In Whitlock’s post, she wrote about how the restrictions put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic are violating her First Amendment rights as well as her 5th and 14th Amendment rights.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in NC

“The reality is that modern society has not been able to eradicate contagious viruses. A typical public health quarantine would occur in a medical facility. I have been told not to participate in public or private accommodations as requested by the government, and therefore denied my 1st amendment right of freedom of religion,” Whitlock wrote.

She went on to say: “It has been insinuated by others that if I go out, I could be arrested for denying a quarantine order.”

She said an arrest in that situation would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

UNC law professor William Marshall said in times of crisis, the government is allowed to take emergency action, citing a Supreme Court ruling during the 1905 smallpox epidemic.

“The community has a right to defend itself against deathly disease. So that’s what’s on the side of the state. On the side of the individual, of course, it’s a major intrusion on a person’s right,” Marshall said.

Marshall said the state needs medical evidence to support what it’s doing, as well as proof it is applying restrictions neutrally.

“When you have a potential of infecting others, you’re not just talking about putting yourself in danger. You’re talking about putting other people in danger, and that’s when I think the state has a legitimate interest to act to prevent the spread of that disease,” Marshall said.

ReOpen NC said it would hold rallies in Raleigh every Tuesday until the governor’s restrictions are lifted. On Thursday, Cooper extended the stay-at-home order until May 8.

A total of 306 deaths in the state are being blamed on the virus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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