In the past several days seven republicans have tested positive for the Covid-19 in Arkansas .the state reports a spike in covid-19 cases and hospitalization rates.
The most recent infected lawmaker is state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, a former chairwoman of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee, according to the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette, which first reported Bledsoe’s diagnosis Monday.
Bledsoe’s son is the state’s surgeon general and her husband is a chief physician specialist at the state’s Department of Health.
According to the news outlet, the infections come as the Arkansas lawmakers are scheduled to resume budget hearings for state agencies this week.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that since Oct. 20, six other GOP officials in the Arkansas legislature have announced that they had tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the leaders to initially pause their budget talks.
In the past week, Arkansas has reported an average of 1,019 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus per day, an eighteen percent increase from just two weeks ago, according to the New York Times coronavirus database.
The state’s health department reported more than 530 new infections on Monday, as well as 21 deaths, bringing the state totals to 106,727 confirmed cases and 1,833 people dead as a result of the virus.
In July, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) issued a statewide mask mandate as cases began to rise in the state and has since supported the use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 unlike other Republican lawmakers who have questioned its effectiveness in protecting people from the virus.
On CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Hutchinson said he disagreed with President Donald Trump’s hesitancy to wear masks in public, adding that it was “very concerning” that Trump has claimed the country will soon experience an end to the virus.