Dozens of state lawmakers were tested Monday for COVID-19 following Speaker of the House Philip Gunn’s confirmed positive test of the novel coronavirus.
Local Rep. Lester “Bubba” Carpenter of Burnsville told the Daily Corinthian his rapid test result was positive, as well.
Carpenter is in self-quarantine at his Tishomingo County home. He said he is not experiencing any symptoms at this time.
Sen. Rita Potts Parks of Corinth said she was tested on Monday and received a negative result, while another Corinth House member – Rep. Nick Bain said he was tested and is currently awaiting the results.
Both Carpenter and Parks received a rapid test for the virus at the Segars Clinic in Iuka.
Bain said he received a blood test at Physicians Urgent Care in Corinth and must wait three to five days for the results. He said he was having “zero symptoms” and was quarantining himself at home until results were revealed.
Rep. Jody Steverson of Ripley, another Crossroads area lawmaker, did both the blood test as well as the rapid test.
“I wanted to be sure,” he said.
Steverson’s rapid test came back negative and he is currently showing no symptoms.
Carpenter and Bain was in close contact with Gunn last week as legislators had been meeting in Jackson several days a week during the past month. Leaders called adjournment last Wednesday, but lawmakers could still be called back to Jackson through the end of the year to handle issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gunn said he got tested because he had been in close proximity to another member of the House who tested positive. He did not say who the other House member was.
According to The Associated Press, while some legislators or others at the Capitol wore masks, many others did not while sitting in close proximity in the house and senate floor and in committee rooms.
Gunn, the presiding officer of the 122-member House, has sometimes worn a mask and sometimes not.
Gunn said he called everyone that he had been in close proximity to recently to let them know of his diagnosis and planned to self-quarantine. He also called on the state’s residents to do the same if they find out they’re infected: “We need to make sure that we do everything we can to get this past us as quickly as possible.”
Gov. Tate Reeves said he is isolating himself while awaiting results of the virus test he received on Monday. He too had been in close contact with the same House member as Gunn.
The Mississippi Department of Health posted its latest coronavirus statistics Monday. The state recorded 357 new cases through Sunday bringing the total number of confirmed and probable infections to 310,257 across the state. The department estimates 22,167 have recovered.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and even be fatal.