A member of West Virginia’s state Senate has been diagnosed with covid-19 as lawmakers met for interim policy meetings this week.
“We do have a member who has tested positive,” stated Jacque Bland, the Senate’s communications director, not identifying the senator. She added that the senator has been vaccinated.
“The member’s close contacts have been notified, and all of those people are following guidance that we have been provided by both the CDC, DHHR, and our Capitol nurse.”
The senator is Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, who confirmed the breakthrough covid case to MetroNews this morning. Sypolt said he received Johnson & Johnson vaccine in February. Sypolt says he has slight fever and some joint aches, but “I’m doing OK.”
Lawmakers met for three days of regularly-scheduled interim meetings this week, starting Sunday. Members of the Republican majority also gathered at a press conference about vaccine issues, including the Biden administration’s recent announcement pushing large employers toward vaccine mandates or regular testing. Sypolt did not attend the press conference.
“The President added that if anybody does test positive, we are encouraging them to get monoclonal antibodies and steroid treatments as he mentioned today during his press conference,” Bland said.
Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, advocated for antibody treatment for covid patients to minimize the likelihood of having to be hospitalized.
“This infusion therapy has been shown to work and cut down those numbers,” Blair said today.
West Virginia today reported 28,035 active cases of covid-19.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, has been speaking in favor of vaccination. Takubo is also a pulmonologist.
“I believe the vaccinations are working and they’re saving lives,” he said during today’s Senate GOP press conference.
Hoppy Kercheval, host of MetroNews’ “Talkline,” contributed reporting to this story.