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VOL. 44 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 14, 2020

Tennessee lawmaker hospitalized as he battles coronavirus

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NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee state lawmaker who was criticized for not wearing a mask at a Republican party dinner has been hospitalized, and colleagues say he's battling the coronavirus.

Rep. Mike Carter tweeted Monday morning that he's feeling better but expects ups and downs during his recovery.

Carter, an Ooltewah Republican, was getting treatment for COVID-19 on Sunday in the intensive care unit of Erlanger hospital, his colleagues told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"Our friend and colleague is battling COVID, and he is in ICU in Erlanger and we covet your prayers and so does he," said House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison. He said he and Carter texted each other earlier in the day.

Carter attended a July 31 Hamilton County Lincoln Day dinner where a number of prominent Republicans were criticized for not wearing masks or social-distancing. He posted a photo of himself with U.S. Senate nominee Bill Hagerty, neither of them wearing a mask, and later tweeted in response to criticism that guidelines don't require mask-wearing while dining.

When the local health department announced on August 5 there was a virus exposure at the event, Hagerty's campaign said the candidate tested negative for the coronavirus.

Carter chairs the House Civil Justice Committee, but was absent during last week's special legislative session.

He is the second Tennessee lawmaker known to have tested positive for the virus. Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, announced last month that he had tested positive but was asymptomatic.

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