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Senate President makes full recovery after COVID-19 diagnosis

4 years 2 months 19 hours ago Friday, April 24 2020 Apr 24, 2020 April 24, 2020 5:16 AM April 24, 2020 in News
Source: The Advocate
Senate President Page Cortez right and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder Photo: The Advocate

BATON ROUGE - After being diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, Senate President Page Cortez says he's recovered and healthy.

According to The Advocate, the 58-year-old Lafayette Republican said he was actually pronounced healthy some time ago.

Though doctors gave him the all-clear several days before the Legislature met on March 31, Cortez chose not to share this information. 

"I was under no obligation to tell anyone," he said. "But today I concluded I had a moral obligation."

Cortez said his decision to share the news of his diagnosis and quick recovery on Thursday was met with kindness and consideration for the most part. 

"Most of them have texted me and said, 'I am so glad you came out of it and thank you for sharing, I know you are not under any obligation to share it,'" he said.

Cortez said he began feeling ill around March 19, three days after lawmakers stopped business the first time, and tested positive for COVID-19, on March 20 which is when he and his wife began to self-quarantine at home.

The lawmaker said he had a fever, body aches, and general discomfort for about two days.

"I did have it and it wasn't a very harsh virus for me," Cortez said. "But it is not going to minimize how harsh it can be on other people, especially those with underlying health concerns."

"By March 28, I was told I was good and you cannot transmit it," he said

Connie DeLeo, infection prevention specialist at Baton Rouge General, said Thursday that, based on the timeline provided by Cortez, he followed guidelines spelled out by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This week, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will announce modifications to the statewide stay-at-home order on Monday.

At this point, even state lawmakers can't anticipate exactly what those modification will be.

Cortez said the governor on Wednesday was "very noncommittal" in his talk with the Senate leader and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales.

The Legislature began its 2020 regular session on March 9, temporarily adjourned roughly one week later due to the pandemic and then gathered briefly on March 31. 

Though the date of the next session is not scheduled, some anticipate that it will take place in early May. 

"I think his (Governor Edwards') wish is to open up by May 1 but he wants to watch the numbers closely," Cortez said.

He said the governor noted that state lawmakers are essential workers, and about 300 confirmations will die if the Senate doesn't act on them by adjournment on June 1.

Another priority is the development of a new, $30 billion operating budget, but the Senate leader noted the new spending document has to be in place by July 1.

One or more special sessions are expected due to the legislative shutdown triggered by the COVID-19 health crisis.

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