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Third NY lawmaker tests positive for coronavirus

Third NY lawmaker tests positive for coronavirus

Capitol Watch Secret Commission

FILE - This photo from June 20, 2019, shows members of the New York state Assembly during legislative activity in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

A state legislator from Suffolk County is the third New York lawmaker who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre has a confirmed case of COVID-19, according to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. She was tested for the virus Wednesday — the same day members of the Assembly returned to Albany for votes on paid sick leave and political petitioning legislation. 

Because Jean-Pierre was in Albany for votes, Heastie said he informed the state Department of Health of her positive test. He added that Jean Pierre "did not have any contact with other members or staff." 

"She was tested (Wednesday) after a family member became ill," Heastie continued. "I have spoken to Kimberly and she has told me that she is back home in her district, self-quarantining and doing well." 

During the Assembly session on Wednesday, members voted in groups instead of gathering at the same time in the chamber. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended limits on mass gatherings and is advising people to practice social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

As a precaution, Heastie said he ordered the cleaning of Jean-Pierre's Assembly office, the Assembly chamber and "any other areas she may have visited in order to ensure the safety of everyone." 

Last week, two other Assembly members — Charles Barron and Helene Weinstein — tested positive for the coronavirus. Both hadn't been in Albany since early March. 

The three lawmakers are among more than 4,000 New Yorkers who are known to have contracted the coronavirus, a respiratory illness that's sickened at least 10,000 people across the country. 

While most people will experience mild symptoms, seniors and individuals with chronic health conditions are at risk of serious illness. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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