Georgia's Entire Legislature Urged To Self-quarantine After State Senator Tests Positive For Coronavirus

March 20, 2020
Georgia Legislature

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All 236 members of Georgia's state legislature are being required to self-isolate after a lawmaker tested positive for coronavirus. The state senator showed up for a coronavirus-related vote earlier this week despite showing symptoms of the disease.

Georgia Legislature
Georgia Legislature

Georgia's Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston sent emails Wednesday to the entire legislature recommending that all lawmakers — as well as dozens of staffers — quarantine themselves through March 30. The legislature already suspended the current legislative session last week. State Senator Brandon Beach, a Republican, revealed Wednesday that he tested positive for coronavirus. Beach told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was screened for the virus Saturday after seeking medical attention for a cough and mild fever, two symptoms of the virus. Between his test and receiving his results, lawmakers on Monday were called back to the Capitol for a legislative session to give Governor Brian Kemp powers to fight the pandemic.

One of Beach's legislative colleagues said he was furious that the senator showed up.

"I'm shaking with rage," state Representative Scot Turner wrote in a Facebook post. "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 after being tested on Saturday and exposed all of us. I cannot remember the last time I've been this angry."

Beach said in a statement that he thought he was "in the clear" on the day of the vote because medication had helped him feel better.

"I know many Georgians are praying hard as we weather this crisis together, and frankly, I'd ask that they pray for me," Beach said.

Beach's wife, Shuntel Paille Beach, said on Facebook that the senator's fever is gone but he has a "deep cough" and "soreness from coughing."

"The last thing he would want would be for anyone to be infected," she wrote. "... My prayer for you is that you will use this time for family and stay healthy. God uses us for a reason and my hope is that we can provide encouragement to so many during this stressful time. Please take it seriously."

 

 

Another state senator, Bruce Thompson, said he has been in intensive care and awaiting results from a second coronavirus test after an initial one came back negative. Thompson did not show up to the vote Monday.

As of Thursday, Georgia has confirmed 287 coronavirus cases, and 10 people have died from it.