RIDGEFIELD — Working from home — that will be First Selectman Rudy Marconi’s plan for a while longer. His retest for the coronavirus on Friday came back positive.

Marconi has been battling COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, for a month now, since early April. Although said he’s feeling pretty good these days, he had a difficult few weeks.

“I went up to the hospital Friday to get a test,” Marconi said Monday afternoon. “I was feeling pretty good. It came back positive, unfortunately, so the doctor told me to take another week. ...

“It was something called ‘presumptive positive,’” he said of the test result.

Marconi said he wasn’t sure what to make of the word “presumptive” in the test result, but he understood quite well what the word “positive” meant for him.

“I won’t be going back to Town Hall, for sure, until I get a ‘negative,’” he said.

Marconi sounded kind of eager to get out of the house after a month.

“I’ve got another, unfortunately, week to 10 days that I have to climb these walls, use the cellphone and the laptop,” he said. “I won’t be in the office, that’s for sure.”

Friday was only the second time Marconi was tested for coronavirus — the first time being when he got sick in early April.

Marconi said town hall staff has been helpful, and people have been very supportive.

“The whole town’s been very gracious and very understanding and I appreciate that,” he said.

Hartford audience

Marconi shared his experience fighting the disease with a Hartford audience by video conference from Ridgefield on April 29, during one of Gov. Ned Lamont’s daily news briefings.

Ridgefield’s first selectman said his multiweek bout with COVID-19 was a “rough road” including eight consecutive days on oxygen in an experience he wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Marconi and another COVID-19 patient, state Rep. Jane Garibay of Windsor Locks, joined Lamont’s news briefing to stress the need to maintain social distancing and have the state take its time in returning to some kind of normal public life.

Marconi said the virus can be devastating.

The coronavirus has been linked to nearly 2,800 fatalities in Connecticut and more than 75,000 nationwide as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday. In Ridgefield, 36 people have died since March 18 to May 5, including the state’s first COVID-19 fatality.

“I know we’re all looking at the economic side of things and as a capitalistic society we want to get back to work, we want money to flow again, but I can’t stress enough the importance of how this can impact the health of all of our citizens here in Connecticut,” Marconi said.

He described his early symptoms as like a head cold.

Marconi said he went to bed on April 1, stayed in bed for a couple days, got a coronavirus test on Saturday the 6th and learned Monday he had contracted the virus.


“By Wednesday the 8th, I was pretty far down the road into this virus,” Marconi said, adding his physician recommended oxygen at home rather than going to the hospital. Therapies included the controversial hydroxychloroquine anti-malaria drug.

He said nausea was the toughest symptom.

“I can’t tell you how severe I felt, from laying on the floor and having difficulty in the evenings, to finally being here today to tell that story,” he said.

His symptoms included aches, chills, pains, sore throat, headache and diarrhea. “It was pretty alarming for me,” he said.

Marconi warned not to reopen Connecticut too soon.

“Please believe me,” Marconi said. “This is a highly contagious, serious virus that we need to be careful each step we take.”

Social distancing and face coverings are crucial to slowing the spread of the virus, but also important is deliberately considering the slow steps toward opening nonessential businesses.

Marconi, who has led Ridgefield’s town government since 1999, and Garibay, a first-term member of the House of Representatives from Windsor Locks, avoided hospitals except for a few hours on Garibay’s part.

They believe that they were able to avoid giving the virus to others — although Marconi’s wife, Peggy, who nursed him back to health, had a low-grade fever that lasted a couple of days.

Garibay said she was particularly lucky because of some underlying health conditions. She was diagnosed on March 18, the day after the state’s first fatality, an elderly resident of a Ridgefield nursing home, who died at Danbury Hospital.

“I will say it was 21/2 weeks of having the flu and it was very difficult,” she said. “It affects each person differently. I had aches, my temperature at one point peaked at 103.5 and I did a six-hour visit to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.”

She couldn’t eat for 13 days. “It tasted like cardboard,” she said.