More Mississippi legislators test positive for coronavirus

Published 2:12 pm Thursday, January 28, 2021

JACKSON (AP) — Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said Thursday that four state senators are in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Two of the four had already been diagnosed last week, and two more have been added to the list.

House Speaker Philip Gunn said last week that at least one House member was out with the highly contagious virus.

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Hosemann and Gunn were among about four dozen Mississippi legislators who tested positive for the coronavirus last summer in the largest outbreak so far of any statehouse in the U.S.

That outbreak happened after people crowded into the Capitol in Jackson as legislators worked on a state budget and other issues. Some ignored public health officials’ recommendations to wear masks and keep distance from one another.

Mississippi legislators returned to the Capitol in early January to begin a session that is scheduled to end in early April. To promote social distancing, legislators have the option to attend committee meetings in person or online. The meetings are shown online to try to reduce the number of spectators inside the Capitol.

Gov. Tate Reeves gave his State of the State speech on the south steps of the Capitol on Tuesday as a safety precaution because of the virus. Usually, most of Mississippi’s 52 senators and 174 House members crowd into the House chamber, along with Supreme Court justices and other officials, to watch the speech.