Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann has tested positive for COVID-19 just one day into the 2022 legislative session, prompting concerns about an outbreak at the Capitol.
Hosemann, the Senate’s presiding officer, has no symptoms. He has been vaccinated and also received the booster shot, according to his office. Though Hosemann had no symptoms, he decided to get tested after learning he had come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Hosemann’s office is in the process of contacting people who he might have been exposed during the opening day of the 2022 legislative session on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
Those who were exposed include senators and many members of the media. Hosemann was seen without a mask on Tuesday speaking in close proximity with several prominent members of the Senate.
After the first day of the session concluded, Hosemann answered questions for about 20 minutes from members of the media in the crowded, small Capitol press room.
Senate Appropriations Chair Briggs Hopson, R-Vicksburg, also has tested positive. He also had the coronavirus previously.
Most people in the Capitol eschewed wearing masks on Tuesday, the opening day of a scheduled 90-day session. Lawmakers and staffers at the Capitol are under are no mask mandate.
House Clerk Andrew Ketchings said there is one House employee who has the virus, but that she has not been at the Capitol in recent days, since before testing positive. There are no other reports of House members or staffers testing positive.
The 74-year-old Republican previously contracted the coronavirus during the summer of 2020 while the Legislature was in session. House Speaker Philip Gunn also tested positive during that time period as did about 50 legislators and staffers.
That outbreak was one of at least two Capitol COVID-19 outbreaks since the pandemic began in early 2020.
Hosemann has spoken openly about the severity of his symptoms from his first coronavirus illness and has been outspoken in urging people to get vaccinated.
Hosemann’s office said he will quarantine for five days per guidelines from the state health officer and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.