Kentucky Senator Tests Positive For COVID A Day After Appearing On TV With Other Legislative Leaders

This story has been updated.

A member of Kentucky Senate Democratic leadership has tested positive for coronavirus, a day after appearing on a television show with three other legislative leaders. 

Senate Democratic Caucus Leader Reggie Thomas, Lexington, tested positive today after taking a COVID test. The 2022 Kentucky legislative session also began today, and while the asymptomatic Thomas did not attend due to his positive test, he was on Kentucky Tonight the evening before.

On the televised KET show, Thomas sat unmasked, several feet apart from three of his contemporaries, including Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, House Speaker David Meade, R-Stanford, and Democratic Minority Whip Rep. Angie Hatton, D-Whitesburg.

In an email, a spokesperson for Meade said that the legislator did not meet the CDC’s definition of a COVID exposure due to seating arrangements on the show and arrival times. The CDC says a person has been exposed to the coronavirus when they have close contact with an infected individual, which means they are within 6 feet of them for a total of 15 minutes or more.

Senate Democrats all got tested for coronavirus before the session began today. It’s not clear if Senate Republicans or House Democrats and Republicans did the same.

LEO sent an email for comment to Senate Republican communications, as well as to Hatton’s legislative email account. They did not respond by the time this story was published. 

Courier Journal reporter Joe Sonka noted on Twitter that many legislators were not wearing masks when the session began today. 

The omicron variant is causing a massive surge in Kentucky coronavirus cases. The state hit its highest positivity rate ever, Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Monday.

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