Virginia state Sen. Bryce Reeves tests positive for COVID-19 amid special session


Virginia Senate has no plans "at this time" to change its logistics for meetings

Virginia State Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, right, listens to debate during the Virginia Senate Special Session in the temporary Senate chambers at the Science Museum of Virginia, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia state senator has tested positive for COVID-19 as lawmakers continue to work to adjust the state’s budget and focus on social justice reform during the special session.

Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) wrote on Facebook that he decided to get tested after he began experiencing mild cold symptoms. Reeves said that he “immediately started a self-quarantine” and looks forward to getting back to work.

Unlike the House of Delegates, where members voted to finish the session online, the Virginia Senate has been meeting in-person inside the Science Museum of Virginia. Senators have been kept separate, with some desks surrounded by a three-sided plexiglass box, and most have been wearing masks during the special session.

Mark A. Snesavage, Reeves’ chief of staff, told 8News on Tuesday that the state senator felt comfortable with the precautions put in place at the museum. Snesavage added that while Reeves can no longer participate during the special session, he may be able to vote virtually during committee meetings.

Senate Clerk Susan Schaar sent out an email Tuesday, which was obtained by 8News, alerting senators of Reeves’ positive test and warning them to seek medical attention if they felt any symptoms. She also said that Reeves began feeling symptoms, including sore throat, coughing and sneezing, on the night of Aug. 19.

“If you have these symptoms or other Covid symptoms please do NOT come to Richmond!” Schaar wrote.

Schaar told 8News on Tuesday that the Virginia Senate has no provisions in its rules for Reeves to attend the special session remotely but confirmed that he could join a committee meeting if its held virtually. Reeves must have two negative tests before he can return to the session, according to Schaar.

“There are no plans at this time to change the Senate meetings and we will convene at 12 noon tomorrow at the Science Museum,” Schaar added.

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