The Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson saw over 26 lawmakers diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to the state health officials on Wednesday.
The lawmakers at the Capitol in June worked together without wearing face masks or social distancing in the building. The outbreak is so far the biggest one in any state legislature in the country.
Following the growing number of cases within the Capitol, hundreds of staff were tested Monday.
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs had a press conference Tuesday to explain the testing within the state legislature.
“Because of how many people they’ve been around, we want to go ahead and offer testing to pretty much everybody in the Capitol — staff and legislators — so we can go ahead and get people diagnosed and isolated as quickly as possible,” Dobbs said.
Mississippi legislators initially were working from home since March due to the outbreak. When they returned to the Capitol briefly in May, they took social distancing seriously.
However, as the building fully opened in June, many of the legislators started to bend the social distancing rules, which eventually led to the outbreak.
As of Saturday, Mississippi reported more than 35,000 COVID-19 cases, with over 1200 deaths.