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State senators told to self-quarantine after member tests positive

Sen. Brandon Beach, an Alpharetta Republican, announced 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.

Beach began exhibiting symptoms on March 10 and attended the Senate as late as Monday, when the General Assembly met in a one-day special session to ratify Gov. Brian Kemp's declaration of a public health emergency. The regular session was suspended Friday because of the disease threat,

Beach told bystanders Monday that he wasn't feeling well. He said in a statement Wednesday that he was tested for the virus Saturday after experiencing a fever and a cough, but felt better with medication and attended Monday.

“Today, however, my test came back positive,” Beach said. He said he's at home and is following his physician's direction to not go to a hospital unless he has trouble breathing.

The leaders of the Senate majority and minority also advised Wednesday that “members of the public who frequent the capitol should use their best judgment when making a decision to self-quarantine.” Hundreds of lobbyists and visitors are in the Georgia Capitol on a typical day, although crowds began to thin dramatically late last week.

Kemp does not believe he was exposed, spokeswoman Candice Broce said. She said the Georgia Building Authority is working to clean the capitol and legislative office building.