Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore recently learned two attendees at a massive conference she attended were diagnosed with COVID-19. Now she’s “self-isolating” as a precaution — but says she would do so anyway and that everyone should to avoid the pandemic disease.

“If you have it, don’t go out so you can’t spread it. And if you don’t have it, stay in so you don’t get it,” Moore said of COVID-19 in a phone interview. “You should only be going out if it’s extremely urgent and critical that you do so. Other than that, the more we limit contact with each other, the quicker we can get to the other side.”

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore.

Moore attended the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference, held March 6-11 in Washington, D.C. The event’s online program noted COVID-19 concerns but pitched itself as helping to develop government partnerships “critical to public health” in responding to the pandemic. Moore learned this week about the attendees who had the disease.

She said they were not in the same sessions as her, but she is staying home partly as a precaution. Moore said March 19 that she has no symptoms and calls it “self-isolation” rather than “self-quarantine” to distinguish her situation from those diagnosed with COVID-19.

“But I’m self-isolating, actually, for more than that reason…,” she said. “I just believe we’ve gotten to the point, and probably already should have been there, where going out in public–whether you’re trying to distance yourself or not — is not advisable if it’s not an urgent need. Any exposure to other people is not a good thing if it’s not necessary.”

Moore said that based on the news she sees, she is braced to wait “to see a semblance of what we used to call normal — it’s probably going to be the summer or late fall. … The worst wave of this has not yet hit us.”

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has ordered progressively tighter controls on public events and businesses to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. In the most recent move, she restricted restaurants to take-out, delivery or drive-thru service and shuttered a wide range of businesses, from movie theaters to gyms.

Moore has been working from home, and the council has been meeting by teleconference during the emergency. She said Bottoms has requested a phone call with the council for Monday, which would open to public call-ins if it happens.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.