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Coronavirus In Ohio: State Rep. Howse Tests Positive For COVID-19

Ohio State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland)
John Minchillo
Ohio State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) is interviewed following a legislative session at the Ohio Statehouse, in Columbus on October 30, 2019.

The leader of Ohio Legislative Black Caucus is the first Ohio lawmaker known to be diagnosed with COVID-19. State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) says she’s experiencing mild symptoms since being diagnosed a couple of days ago.

Howse says she’s been careful to protect herself against the virus.

"I try to work to practice social distancing, wear my mask, have forever wipes, you know wiping things down, wash my hands," Howse says.

Howse says she has "absolutlely no idea" where she contracted the highly contagious disease. But since masks aren’t required at the Ohio Statehouse, and many legislators there do not wear them, she doesn’t rule out that she could have contracted it from fellow lawmakers.

“Of course it crosses my mind, the likelihood of coming from someone who is not as vigilant as myself... absolutely," Howse says. "So, whether it’s in the Statehouse or in our communities, that’s truly how transmission has come from."

Howse says she doesn’t know that she has infected anyone else but wants the public to know so they will take the pandemic seriously.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.