The Lead

Pittsburgh Rep. Lee says she has coronavirus, skips swearing in-day 

By: - January 5, 2021 1:55 pm

State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, speaks at a 2021 state Capitol news conference where she and other Pa. House Democrats rolled out a package of police reform proposals (Capital-Star photo).

The 12th member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly has tested positive for COVID-19.

Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, posted on social media Tuesday that she was at home in isolation recovering from the virus,

“I’ve taken every precaution incredibly seriously! Work from home. Since holidays/surge I leave home only for essentials (groceries, dentist). I’m unmasked in front of [four people,]” Lee tweeted. “Yet I still contracted!”

Her announcement came on the same day that she and her colleagues were supposed to be sworn into office for the new, two-year legislative session that began Tuesday.

Lee, in her second term, added that her symptoms included losing her sense of smell. 

“The challenge of this pandemic is that you cannot think only of yourself! Your actions impact others,” Lee said. “Unfortunately, sometimes our bubbles leak. It doesn’t matter if you did everything right. We’re only out of this when the last person thinks of their neighbor first.”

The General Assembly has not been in session since November, meaning there is no risk of exposure in the state Capitol.

How to respond to the pandemic has been a partisan issue. In the House, rules mandate mask wearing, but lawmakers can also be exempted with a doctor’s note.

As such, some lawmakers, mostly Republicans, do not wear masks. A Democratic plan to have every maskless lawmaker be sworn in at once in the lower chamber was rejected by Republican leadership.

Third Pa. legislator this week tests positive for COVID-19, as Capitol rethinks pandemic-era swearing-in

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.