Whole Georgia State Legislature Exposed To COVID-19

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One of the thousands of Americans who’ve newly tested positive for the Coronavirus is Georgia state Senator Brandon Beach (R) — who, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, participated in a special legislative session while experiencing symptoms that led him to get tested for the Coronavirus just days before. When he participated at the state Capitol, he had not yet gotten the results of his test, and the now available confirmation that he’s sick with the Coronavirus means that he put every state legislator in Georgia in danger, not to mention large numbers of state legislative staffers. Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston are now “recommending that all 236 state lawmakers, as well as dozens of staffers from both chambers, quarantine themselves through March 30,” the Journal-Constitution explains.

Beach has insisted that he “thought [he] was in the clear” when he arrived at the Capitol on Monday, because at least some of his symptoms had subsided in the wake of medication, and the state Senator’s wife, Shantel, insisted in her own Facebook post that the “last thing he would want would be for anyone to be infected” and he thought he was “on the mend.”

Another state legislator, state Senator Bruce Thompson (R), has been hospitalized recently in an intensive care unit and was apparently getting tested for the Coronavirus again after an initial negative test, but he did not attend the special legislative session that Beach did.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R) said he was enraged that Beach had attended the session at the Capitol despite his symptoms, which flies in the face of counsel from public health officials across the country for sick people to stay home.

Turner wrote on Facebook:

‘I’m shaking with rage. We were told if we had symptoms to refrain from going to the Capitol on Monday. Senator Brandon Beach knew he was exhibiting symptoms since MARCH THE 10TH! I have an elderly hospice patient at home. He irresponsibly stayed all day at the Capitol on Monday and exposed all of us.’

I’m shaking with rage.We were told if we had symptoms to refrain from going to the Capitol on Monday.Senator Brandon…

Posted by Scot Turner on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The special session in which Beach participated, which was convened to approve special powers for Governor Brian Kemp (R) to use in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, took place on March 16. March 30, when participants have been urged to quarantine themselves until, is two weeks after that date.

Beach’s behavior even contradicts recommendations from his state’s own Republican governor, Brian Kemp, who insisted in a recent interview:

‘The biggest thing is social distance yourself. If you are sick, do not – do not – go out. Stay home until you can figure out what’s going on. Don’t go to the doctor. Don’t show up at the emergency room. Don’t show up at work.’

Beach showed up to work, despite his symptoms.

He’s not the first member of the government to test positive for the disease; two members of the U.S. Congress have as well — Florida’s Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) and Utah’s Rep. Ben McAdams (D). Meanwhile, staffers in a handful of Congressional offices have also gotten the disease, sparking a widespread wind-down of in-person work.