Mississippi governor tests negative for COVID-19 after scare

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has tested negative for the coronavirus, a day after announcing he was going into isolation after being exposed to a lawmaker who tested positive

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has tested negative for the coronavirus, a day after announcing he was going into isolation after being in contact with a lawmaker who tested positive.

“My girls and I tested negative for COVID-19,” Reeves tweeted Tuesday morning. “Limited contact with the people who were diagnosed, but better safe than sorry! If someone you know gets the virus, get a test!”

Reeves has not identified the lawmaker who he came into contact with who tested positive. During a Facebook Live video Monday afternoon, Reeves said a “large number” of legislators have tested positive for the virus. The Mississippi Department of Health has not released more information.

Reeves said he came into contact with an individual who has tested positive “briefly” last week. The governor was visibly in close contact last week with House Speaker Philip Gunn during the signing of a bill that removed the Confederate emblem from Mississippi’s state flag.

Gunn announced Sunday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gunn, a Republican from the Jackson suburb of Clinton, said in a video posted to Facebook that he got tested because he had been in close proximity to another member of the House who tested positive. He did not identify the other lawmaker.

At least one other lawmaker, Democrat Rep. Bo Brown of Jackson, has announced a positive test result in the last several days.

“I felt like I needed to go get myself tested just because I had been with this person and this morning was informed that I too have tested positive for COVID,” Gunn said. “I feel very fortunate that I don’t really have very many symptoms and feel fine.”

Gunn said he called everyone he had been close to recently to advised them of his diagnosis and self-quarantine plan. He also called on the state’s residents to do likewise if they find out they are infected. “We need to make sure that we do everything we can to get this past us as quickly as possible.”

Gunn is the state’s highest-ranking political figure to publicly disclose a positive test for the coronavirus.

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Leah Willingham is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.