Republican state Representative Stephen Hambley last month tested positive for the deadly coronavirus. Twice. Ignoring state and federal guidelines, he went back to work after just a few days. He reportedly has never received a negative test since his positive tests November 22 and 28.
Democrats say he never informed them of his positive status (he claims he did), as he continued his duties, including sitting on committees, and even voting to restrict "the ability of the Ohio Department of Health to issue quarantine and isolation orders related to the pandemic," as the Ohio Capitol Journal's Jake Zuckerman reports.
Now, at least four lawmakers – two Republicans and two Democrats, have tested positive for COVID-19, after spending time alongside Hambley at a House Finance Committee hearing on December 2.
It's not just those four lawmakers who are sick.
A Democratic spokesperson says nine Democratic lawmakers in total are either sick or awaiting coronavirus test results. The Republican spokeswoman has not answered questions about any other Republicans.
On November 19 Rep. Hambley told the the House Civil Justice Committee of an aide's positive COVID test result.
"Before we start, I do need to announce that one of our staff members was diagnosed this morning with covid," he said. "I'm asking all members and staff to please take the abundant amount of caution — masking, distance, sanitation, so forth. The administration as well as the leadership has been informed of this and we're following the necessary safety protocols."
And yet, the Ohio Capitol Journal reports, "the committee continued its work regardless of CDC guidelines recommending those exposed to the virus to isolate from others."
Two days after Hambley received his own first positive coronavirus test result he shared this post on Facebook, detailing COVID-19 timelines and progression. He did not mention his own diagnosis.
The Journal adds that "footage from recent House floor sessions show Hambley giving floor speeches and meandering about the House floor, not wearing a mask."
"Hambley is not seeking reelection. On Dec. 2, he gave a farewell speech (image above), about 15 minutes in duration, to the chamber. He was maskless the whole time."