Coast lawmaker hospitalized after COVID-19 outbreak at Capitol

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Rep. Manly Barton, R-Moss Point

State Rep. Manly Barton, R-Moss Point, remained hospitalized on Thursday after contracting coronavirus at the Capitol, several of his colleagues told Mississippi Today.

Barton is one of dozens of lawmakers and staffers infected with COVID-19 from an outbreak at the state Capitol.

“He was in ICU,” said House Appropriations Chairman John Read, one of Barton’s fellow Jackson Countians. “The report I got (Thursday) morning was that he is on oxygen only, he was awake and communicating.”

Barton, 71, was reportedly hospitalized on Sunday.

Read and others on social media called for prayers and well wishes for Barton, a nine-year lawmaker, former longtime Jackson County supervisor and Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

“As many know, over the two weeks since the House and Senate left the Capitol, dozens of lawmakers and staff have tested positive for COVID-19,” Read posted on Facebook. “While most have already recovered, a few are still struggling. One of our most beloved chairmen … Rep. Manly Barton remains hospitalized.

“Manly is as tough as they come,” Read wrote. “He took a bullet in Vietnam and has lived a life of services to his community, state and nation … Please join me in saying a prayer for healing and recovery for one of the finest men any of us know in the House of Representatives.”

Moss Point Alderman Wayne Lennep posted: “Please pray for our friend … Manly was admitted to the hospital Sunday. Please pray for the others as well.”

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs on Tuesday said that 41 people, including 30 legislators, have tested positive so far from a Capitol outbreak before the Legislature left Jackson on July 1. Dobbs said there have been two hospitalizations associated with the Capitol outbreak.

Both Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, have tested positive. Spokespersons for both this week said they were doing well and both self-isolating at home.