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— The Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK — Two Arkansas lawmakers on Wednesday said they tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest in an outbreak among legislators that has prompted the suspension of state budget hearings this week.

State Sen. Missy Irvin and state Rep. Joe Cloud confirmed that they contracted the virus, the fourth and fifth lawmakers to do so this week.

“I am at home recovering," Irvin tweeted. “Praying for my colleagues and everyone who is suffering with this virus."

Cloud, who said he developed symptoms on Saturday, noted that he had been at budget hearings at the Capitol last week.

“There’s no way to know where exactly I contracted it, but obviously there was some spread," Cloud added.

Legislative leaders announced Tuesday that three lawmakers had tested positive and Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was limiting his public appearances after learning he had been exposed to someone with the virus. Hutchinson added that he had tested negative twice since the exposure.

Three senators and six House members have now tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began in March. Meanwhile, Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office said in a statement that the Republican tested negative twice Wednesday for the coronavirus. He received one negative antigen test in the morning and later returned a negative PCR test, the most accurate one available. Those genetic tests, using long cotton swabs that collect samples from deep inside a person’s nose and throat, can detect an active case of the coronavirus.

“The governor will continue holding virtual meetings and limiting public appearances this week out of concern for the comfort level of others,” the statement concluded.

Arkansas ranks 13th in the country for new cases per capita, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

The number of probable and confirmed cases in Arkansas rose by 1,155 to 101,596 on Wednesday. The state also reported 23 more COVID-19 deaths, bringing its total fatalities to 1,751.

A day after the state hit a new high for hospitalizations, the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 dropped by one to 636.

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