After having coronavirus symptoms, Rep. sponsors measure requiring masks on House floor

Michigan House session, May 27, 2020 | Michigan Advance
Updated, 4:04 p.m., 5/27/20

A resolution was introduced Wednesday that would change the House rules to require every person on the floor to wear a mask or another type of protective face covering during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

State Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt), who introduced House Resolution 268, says “it’s about public health, plain and simple.”

Kara Hope

“It’s about leading by example. Staff has to wear masks. Our governor [Gretchen Whitmer] and the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] have asked the public to wear masks,” Hope continued. “What are we saying if we aren’t willing to follow the rules ourselves?”

The resolution was moved to the Committee on Government Operations.

Hope said she was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms earlier this month and was tested twice for the disease at the Sparrow Hospital St. Lawrence campus in Lansing. Her first test was negative, but her second sample was inadvertently ruined. 

Health officials told her she did not need another test because her symptoms were improving, but she was directed to isolate as a presumptive positive patient would. She is now feeling better and is back at work.

State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) was the first known member of the Michigan Legislature to test positive for COVID-19 in late March. Days after Carter tested positive, state Rep. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit) died on March 29 from suspected COVID-19 complications. 

Earlier during the crisis, lawmakers were screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the Capitol, but Hope said that is no longer being done in the House. A spokesman for House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said there are screenings at the House Office Building.* She added wearing masks is a step to help to slow the spread of the disease.

“It is an easy thing to do but an important message to express that we care about our fellow Michiganders, including those who have lost loved ones, first responders, medical personnel, and the many ‘essential’ workers who have been on the job throughout this pandemic,” Hope said.

Allison Donahue
Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.