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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A tenth Arkansas lawmaker tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday in what has become the second largest outbreak of the virus in a state legislature.
Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey, tested positive for the virus, a House spokeswoman said. He’s the latest in an outbreak that prompted legislative leaders to halt budget hearings last week. Hearings resumed on Tuesday but with new social distancing measures.
Arkansas’ outbreak is second only to one in Mississippi’s legislature this summer, when dozens of lawmakers tested positive for the virus.
The only Arkansas legislators known to have contracted the virus before the latest outbreak were three who caught it in the spring and a fourth who caught it in July.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force said in a report dated Sunday that Arkansas needed a different strategy for reducing the virus’s transmission. The panel said the state should work with communities to limit large and small social gatherings.
“What worked in the summer is not working in the fall with cooler weather and considering COVID fatigue,” the report said.
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