The materials used to collect specimen from those potentially infected with COVID-19 is shown in a mock COVID-19 specimen collection at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson, Miss., Monday, March 23, 2020.

Legislative leaders confirmed on Monday that an employee who occasionally works at the state Capitol has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee works for the Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees state building and grounds, including the Capitol. No other details on the employee or case were immediately available.

House Speaker Philip Gunn announced Monday afternoon that additional safety precautions will be imposed in the House, such as not all the members being in the chamber at the same time.

“We are trying to maintain a safe environment,” Gunn said.

Some members will listen to debate via the intercom system from rooms off the chamber and only come to the chamber to ask questions, speak on bills or offer amendments.

“We are asking everyone to wear a mask,” he said. “We have not mandated it, but we think it is appropriate.”

Earlier this year the legislative leadership had strict safety precautions in place but in recent days have relaxed through guidelines.

In late March, a Capitol Police officer reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. This was while the Legislature’s session was on hiatus because of the pandemic. Lawmakers resumed their session in late May and are hoping to finish it next week.

Access to parts of the Capitol and legislative proceedings have been limited, and people entering the Capitol have their temperature checked and must answer medical questions.

So far there have been no reports of any of the 174-member state Legislature testing positive for COVID-19.

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.

Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.