JONESBORO — The entire Clayton legislative delegation, along with the full Georgia Assembly, is now in self-quarantine after state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, was diagnosed with to COVID-19.
The situation only adds to the difficulty of governing under the coronavirus emergency. Rep. Rhonda Burnough said the Clayton County delegation will hold a virtual town hall meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 28. Information on how to take part in the meeting will go out this week, she added.
“If constituents have questions, they can e-mail us at our Senate or House e-mail addresses,” Burnough said. “It will be our firstname.lastname at house.ga.gov” — for example, email@example.com .
Rep. Valencia Stovall said she is self-quarantining and has “reached out to my primary care doctor to request to be tested and (am) awaiting his response.”
Stovall said that she is “one of the vulnerable, and I care for my 79-year-old father, who is also vulnerable. I asked Gov. (Brian) Kemp on Sunday’s call with the legislators about testing for us before we convened on Monday, but my question was never answered.”
Stovall pointed out that about 200 General Assembly members “were in close proximity to one another on Crossover and on Special Session on Monday without knowing our status on whether positive or negative.” Because the legislators then traveled back to their districts, they “could possibly be the fastest spreaders of the virus.”
“When we left session on Monday, many of us were out in our communities helping with food distributions, at the grocery stores, banks and other public places,” Stovall said. “When I was alerted to one of the senators testing positive, my concerns were heightened. I didn’t see the care and concern for the leaders who will have to convene on April 15th to decide on extending the public health emergency declaration for all of Georgia.”
Stovall likened the situation “to when you are on the airplane and the instructions given in the event of a crash are to place the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help others. If we are not physically able to come back to the Capitol, then how does the business of the state continue?”