STATE SENATOR BRIAN JONES TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, PROMPTING SENATE ADJOURNMENT

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By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Facebook: Senator Brian Jones wearing a mask while speaking on the Senate Floor earlier this month

August 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)—State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) has tested positive for COVID-19. The finding prompted a temporary adjournment of the State Senate just days before the Aug. 31 end of the legislative session, putting the fate of some pending bills in question.

The announcement, made on Senator Jones’ social media sites today, states that he received the news after returning to Sacramento for the end of the legislative session.  The statements indicate he will be taking additional tests to rule out the possibility of a false-positive result.  “In the meantime, he’ll be following CDC and CDPH protocols for those receiving a positive test result,” his Facebook page states.  Those protocols recommend isolating at home while awaiting test results.

The statement does not indicate when or why the Senator was tested, or whether he has had any symptoms. Jones has been wearing a mask when speaking on the Senate floor, including as recently as Monday.

State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) cancelled today’s floor session after confirming that a “member of the Senate family” tested positive. “The Senate will be prepared to continue our work when we have completed public health protocols to ensure that the risk of exposure has been eliminated,” she stated.

Masks and social distancing are required in the Capitol. Deep cleaning and contact tracing are being done to assure that anyone exposed will be notified, Atkins has indicated.

The State Senate has been allowing members to vote from their district offices on committee matters, but has required in-person voting for the full Senate, where legislators often meet to negotiate with fellow legislators, stakeholders and lobbyists as well as staff. 

The disruption will make it more challenging for the Legislature to complete consideration of all pending bills before August 31, including measures that would offer long-term foreclosure and eviction protections to homeowners, renters and landlords impacted by the pandemic. A major police reform bill is also among those awaiting action in the State Senate.

Senator Jones formerly served on the Santee City Council and in the State Assembly before being elected to the State Senate. He ran for Congress in the 50th Congressional District to fill the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter, but the Republican primary race was won by Darrell Issa. 

Jones has been a critic of Governor Gavin Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and has accused Democrats of exaggerating the crisis. The conservative Senator has opposed closing down houses of worship and beaches, also calling for a more rapid reopening of businesses closed down. He has provided resources for businesses on ways for some to safely continue operations

The Senator has also hosted a blood drive to increase blood bank donations, which were running low due to COVID-19. “Luckily, we were able to fill every time slot for a blood donation, which will save lives,” he posted on Facebook at the time.

On Facebook, many constituents posed get well wishes and offered prayers for Senator Jones to stay healthy.

Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting,  politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting including impacts on our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and https://www.facebook.com/fbjournalismproject/.

You can donate to support our local journalism efforts during the pandemic at https://www.EastCountyMedia.org/donate.

 


 

 

 

Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting including impacts on vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and https://www.facebook.com/fbjournalismproject/.

You can donate to support our local journalism efforts during the pandemic at https://www.EastCountyMedia.org/donate.