30 Mississippi legislators, 11 state capitol employees test positive for coronavirus

30 Mississippi legislators, 11 state capitol employees test positive for coronavirus
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At least 30 Mississippi lawmakers and 11 workers at the state capitol have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to the state's health officer.

The number is an increase from the 26 lawmakers and 10 others originally reported to have contracted the virus, state health officer Thomas Dobbs said, attributing the increase to more people receiving test results.

Two people from the Mississippi Capitol are hospitalized, according to the Jackson CLarion-Ledger.

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The number gives the state the largest coronavirus outbreak in any state legislature thus far, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Lawmakers must return to the Mississippi Capitol at some point in the future to approve a budget for the state Department of Marine Resources and vote on whether to override a veto of some state education funding by Gov. Tate Reeves (R), the newspaper reported, but Reeves said he does not know when it will be safe for lawmakers to return.

Speaker Philip Gunn (R) and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R) were reported last week to be among the lawmakers infected.

Reeves earlier this week warned that allowing people to contract and recover from the virus was unlikely to be a long-term solution for the pandemic.

“We would need to TRIPLE our worst day [of cases]—every day—for a year,” Reeves tweeted. “I’m not one of these guys that immediately dismisses any idea that challenges the expert status quo talking points. I’m pretty skeptical by nature. That’s healthy. But herd immunity is not anything like a realistic solution in the short or mid-term. I wish it was.”

Last Thursday, the governor ordered 13 counties in the state to require masks and banned large gatherings, saying at a press conference “Mississippi is in a fight for our lives.”

The state has recorded more than 87,500 cases and 1,272 deaths from the virus as of Wednesday afternoon.