Her results were announced Monday by state Senate President Pro Tempore Jim Hendren (R), the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Bledsoe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It is unclear when or how the lawmakers contracted the virus, but the news comes as infection and hospitalization rates are rising in Arkansas. In the past week, the number of daily reported cases rose by nearly 14 percent. In all, Arkansas has had more than 106,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 1,800 deaths, according to The Washington Post’s coronavirus tracker.
After initially resisting mask requirements and stay-at-home orders, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) issued a statewide mask mandate in July, as cases began to surge in the state.
Since then, Hutchinson has maintained his support of masks. On CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, the governor said he disagreed with President Trump’s reluctance to wear masks in public. He also said it was “very concerning” that Trump claimed the country was in the homestretch of the pandemic, while it is only getting worse in Hutchinson’s state.
“Everyone knows that we are going through a very difficult crisis and it’s going to likely get worse as we go into the winter,” he told CBS’s Margaret Brennan.
The positive cases among Republican lawmakers in Arkansas began occurring a week ago. On Oct. 20, GOP leaders in the state Senate and House informed their colleagues that state Reps. Stu Smith and Michelle Gray and state Sen. Terry Rice all tested positive. That same day, Hutchinson said he tested negative for the virus after being exposed days earlier.
“I am at home recovering,” Irvin wrote on Twitter. “Praying for my colleagues and everyone who is suffering with this virus.”
With so many positive tests, legislative leaders last week paused ongoing budget hearings.
Then, on Saturday, state Rep. Charlene Fite revealed she had become the sixth GOP legislator to test positive. Fite, who is running for reelection, had to pause campaigning and go into in isolation.
“Usually the final days of a campaign are busy and exciting. That will not be the case this time,” she wrote on Facebook. “My symptoms are mild, and I’m under home quarantine. Please pray I recover quickly.”
Bledsoe received her positive test results Sunday night, Hendren reported. Her husband, James Bledsoe, also tested positive. On Monday evening, Greg Bledsoe, her son and the state’s surgeon general, tweeted his parents, wife and two of his three children had tested positive “in spite of our best attempts to distance & wear masks,” he wrote.
He added that his parents’ results and his immediate family’s infections were unrelated and apparently a coincidence.
“I have had no contact this week with other members of the AR General Assembly, so our cases also appear unrelated to the recent cases at the Capitol,” Greg Bledsoe wrote. “All of this underscores the importance of the public remaining vigilant regarding masks & distancing.”
Despite the latest cases, the state legislature is resuming budget hearings on Tuesday, the Democrat-Gazette reported. Hendren said the Capitol will enforce more distancing between lawmakers and institute new safety procedures, according to KATV.