JACKSON • Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a communications official within the lieutenant governor’s office.

“Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann has informed members of the Senate he tested positive for COVID-19 and will follow State Health Department guidelines for self-quarantining and working at home,” said Leah Smith, the deputy chief of staff for Hosemann.

Hosemann is now the only statewide official who has publicly announced he has tested positive for the virus. Hosemann’s announcement comes at a time when several legislators have tested positive for the virus and many state officials are getting tested for the virus.

Liz Sharlot, the communications director for the Mississippi State Department of Health, told the Daily Journal in a statement that the health department since last week has been working with the Legislature to identify cases of COVID-19 and is working to prevent further transmission.

“We have several legislators that tested positive for COVID-19 and others that are ill,” Sharlot said. “We continue to test today at the Capitol. Contact tracing is a basic public health principle response on ALL diseases. Folks that test positive for COVID-19 are isolated, close contacted are quarantined to monitor for symptoms.”

Philip Gunn, the speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, announced on social media Sunday afternoon that he tested positive for the virus.

“I feel very fortunate that I don’t really have very many symptoms and feel fine, and I feel like I’m one of the fortunate ones,” Gunn said.

Gunn, the leader of the House, also said that he will self-quarantine and that he has informed other people he may have been in contact with last week “to make sure that they too can take precautions.”

On Tuesday morning, Gov. Tate Reeves announced that he and his family tested negative for the virus. Last week, Reeves, Gunn and Hosemann were in close contact with one another when they participated in a private ceremony where Reeves signed legislation into law to change the state’s flag.

Several Northeast Mississippi legislators have announced they have been tested for the virus, but so far have tested negative for the virus.

State Sen. Chad McMahan, R-Guntown, told the Daily Journal he was tested on Sunday at a clinic in Tupelo, and his test was negative.

State Rep. Randy Boyd, R-Mantachie, told the Journal that he received a “quick test” for the virus, and he tested negative. He was also administered a more thorough test, and he is still waiting for the results to come back.

taylor.vance@journalinc.com

Twitter: @taylor_vance28

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