As Lame Duck Session Goes On, Three Lawmakers Test Positive For Coronavirus

Dec 8, 2020

At least three state lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus, as the legislature has been rushing to get bills passed before the two-year session ends in a few weeks.

UPDATE: The unnamed Republican may be Rep. Steve Hambley (Brunswick), though he does note he tested positive after exposure at the Statehouse on November 17:

Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) announced his positive result last week.

Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) has confirmed he has it too. Both say they have symptoms but are recovering at home.

Another unnamed Republican has tested positive as well.

All were at the Statehouse last week for committee hearings and session. They're all quarantining, along with some other lawmakers who say they'll stay home.

Minority Leader Emilia Sykes has said she's concerned about her colleagues, staff and journalists, and is suggesting this week's legislative activity be canceled.

But a spokesperson for Republican Speaker Bob Cupp says no changes to the schedule are planned.

It's unclear where the lawmakers may have contracted the virus.

Masks are required in the Statehouse, but as the legislative branch, the House and Senate make their own rules. Last month, House Democrats proposed a motion to require members to wear masks. It failed along party lines. But many members do wear masks in committee meetings and on the floor.

Other lawmakers who've announced they've had coronavirus over the last few months are Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Gary Scherer (R-Circleville). Several Senators have confirmed they had positive tests too: Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Columbus), Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) and Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction).

Ohio's very first death from COVID-19 has a connection to the state legislature. Mark Wagoner Sr., who died in March, was the father of Lucas County Republican Party chair Mark Wagoner, a former state senator.