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State senators told to self-quarantine after member tests positive
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Outside of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. - photo by David Barnes

Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, announced late Wednesday that the Department of Public Health and the CDC had asked senators to self-quarantine for 14 days after a member tested positive. 

“Today, Senate members and staff were notified that a senator had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), after first experiencing symptoms on March 10. As a result, and based upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health Dr. Kathleen Toomey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Senate members and Senate employees have been asked to self-quarantine for fourteen days,” the statement reads.

State Sen. Brandon Beach, an Alpharetta Republican, confirmed he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness, sending Lt. Gov Geoff Duncan and Georgia's other 55 state senators into self-quarantine. Duncan, a Republican, presides over the Senate.

The statement also urged anyone who frequents the Capitol to consider self-quarantine and contacted their doctor if they begin to exhibit symptoms.

Miller said Thursday that he is in good health and wishes Beach well.

"Sen. Beach is a friend and a respected member of our body, and those of us who know him personally recognize that this represents only a temporary setback," Miller said in a statement. "Our thoughts remain with Sen. Beach and his family as he continues to recover from this virus and I join the rest of the Senate in lifting him up in prayer and offering our support wherever possible."

Miller encouraged people to follow public health guidelines.

"In this critical time, we must all do our part in reducing the spread of the virus by staying indoors when possible, limiting our contact with vulnerable populations and following hygiene practices recommended by experts," he said.

Miller's office is still open and receiving calls, he said.

State Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, who represents part of Hall County, said Thursday he would be working from home during the quarantine period.

"I currently have no symptoms, and I feel fine," Wilkinson said on social media. "My number one concern right now is the health and safety of my family, your family, and the people of Georgia. ... During this time, I will continue to work daily with state and federal officials in our effort to bring this epidemic under control. We must continue coming together as Americans and Georgians to help each other."

This story has been updated from its original version.
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