Four coronavirus cases reported in Georgia Senate

A state senator who chairs Georgia’s Democratic Party and three of her legislative colleagues said they tested positive for the disease caused by coronavirus, days after the state’s legislative branch was urged to go into self-quarantine.

State Sen. Nikema Williams said she tested positive Sunday but had suspected she had the disease since suffering from a fever for two days. And state Sen. Bruce Thompson said Sunday his test, too, came back positive. 

They join two other Senate lawmakers who previously reported they contracted the disease. 

State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, an orthopedic surgeon and member of Gov. Brian Kemp’s coronavirus task force, said she had been in self-quarantine since she felt sick a week ago.

And state Sen. Brandon Beach revealed Wednesday he had tested positive for the disease and had attended a special session vote at the Georgia Capitol this week while awaiting the results of the test. 

He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he regretted his decision to show up at the statehouse before his results came back but said that he was cleared by a physician “to go back to normal duties.” 

“I’m not a bad person – I would never ever do this on purpose. I was surprised as anybody. I thought it was my regular sinus bronchitis stuff I get every year,” he said. 

>>More: Brandon Beach talks about coronavirus diagnosis that upended Capitol 

>>More: Georgia senator’s diagnosis sends legislative branch into isolation

Thompson, who has been hospitalized for days with respiratory problems, was released from medical care on Saturday and told the AJC a day later his test result came back positive. He said he plans to stay in isolation until his medical team advises otherwise. 

Williams, too, suspected she had the disease before the test results came back. 

“The positive Covid-19 test result was also a reminder that it’s not just 60+ year olds or people already sick that are testing positive,” she wrote on Facebook. “You can get this, too. Many of you reading this already have the coronavirus and are showing no symptoms. 

Among the Capitol staffers who have come down with symptoms is Liz Flowers, the director of the Senate Democratic Caucus. 

The veteran legislative aide, who lives part-time in rural North Carolina, said she’s experiencing mild fever and aches and doesn’t want to deprive anyone more needy of a test. 

“I’ve been self-quarantined since I returned from Atlanta late March 12,” she said. “I was asymptomatic but erred on the side of caution.”

Other Senate members have also received tests, including state Sen. Donzella James, who posted on Facebook her results came back negative. 

Kirkpatrick, a Marietta Republican, said in a Facebook post that she’s followed the strict protocol recommended by health experts and that she’s “comfortable that I have not put anyone at risk.”

“Although I am in the at-risk age group, I am blessed to be very healthy and thankful that I am recovering without complications,” she said. “I will be happy to have immunity to this awful virus.” 


 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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