ATLANTA – The Republican majority leader of Georgia’s state Senate announced Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 during mandatory testing at the state Capitol.
Sen. Mike Dugan, whose district includes Carroll, Douglas and Paulding counties, said in a statement that he was experiencing “minor” symptoms and would isolate at home.
Dugan said he received the positive result Tuesday morning, the second day of Georgia’s legislative session. He was tested Monday.
“I had results prior (to) noticing any real symptoms,” Dugan said.
Both chambers of the state legislature are requiring members and staff to take twice-weekly saliva tests — on Mondays and Thursdays — to try to slow the spread of the virus. Both chambers also require face masks.
The mask requirement is a new policy in the state Senate, which made mask wearing optional during the final days of last year’s session — despite having several members sickened by COVID-19 in March.
Dugan was at the state Capitol on Monday during the opening day of the legislative session. He also attended a watch party last Tuesday for Georgia’s two Republican U.S. Senate candidates, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who lost their bids to Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
The virus has also had an effect on the other side of the Capitol building in the opening days of this year’s session.
House Speaker David Ralston said earlier that multiple members of the state House are currently out because of COVID-19 as well.
Ralston said Tuesday that 74 members of the House who were present Monday did not get tested, even though House leadership had sent several emails reminding members of the requirement.
“Imagine how I felt when I came in today and found out that yesterday 74 — I’m going to repeat that — 74 members of this body did not get tested that were present in the building,” Ralston said just after roll call. “And that’s a bipartisan count by the way.”