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Two Ohio House Members Hospitalized With COVID-19

Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) watches as Rep. John Patterson (D-Ashtabula) talks about their new school funding formula.
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. John Patterson (D-Ashtabula) center talks about their new school funding formula as co-sponsor Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) watches.

Two representatives in the Ohio House are in the hospital right now, battling COVID-19. They are the latest Ohio lawmakers to acknowledge they have contracted the virus.

The representatives, both Democrats, say they have pneumonia as well as COVID. State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) says he has pneumonia in both lungs, but he is lucky because he sought treatment for it early.

"As someone who has retired from the classroom, I know there are moments in life when minds can be changed," Patterson wrote in a statement. "Let this be one of those moments. COVID-19 is real."

State Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) says he was hospitalized Sunday when his blood oxygen levels were low, but says he is breathing easier now.

"Sadly, I am no spring chicken any more so bouncing back may take some time," Rogers wrote. 'Hoping I can get out of here and on my feet as soon as possible."

Both House members attended a House Finance Committee Meeting earlier this month with state Rep. Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick).

In an interview, Hambley told reporters he tested positive twice for coronavirus last month. Two other representatives who attended that same meeting, state Reps. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Gary Sherer (R-Circleville), have also tested positive in recent days.

Visitors and staff members at the Ohio Statehouse are required to wear masks while in the building.

Most Democratic lawmakers wear face masks, as do some Republicans. But many Republicans in the Ohio House and Senate have refused, saying they are not required to do so since they are elected officials. Democrats have tried to change that, but Republicans have defeated all such proposals.

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) released a statement saying, "Join us in sending prayers and well wishes to Reps. Patterson and Rogers. We remain hopeful that everyone continues to take the necessary precautions to prevent spreading COVID to friends, family and co-workers.”

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.