State Rep. Ted James of Baton Rouge has tested positive for the coronavirus and is hospitalized as he fights pneumonia and COVID-19.
The 37-year-old Democrat is the chairman of the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee and one of the most influential members of the Legislative Black Caucus and the capital area’s legislative delegation.
James announced his diagnosis in a written statement Monday night, hours before the legislature is scheduled to reconvene after a precautionary two-week adjournment.
James said he first experienced symptoms on March 22 and immediately began self-isolation. The next day he developed a high fever and cough and experienced shortness of breath. Several days later he received test results confirming that he was suffering from COVID-19. He was admitted to the hospital March 29.
“I hope my constituents and the people of Louisiana look at my experience and understand that this virus does not know age, race, health, or socioeconomic status,” James wrote. “I implore everyone to stay home, stay safe, and save lives.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday that he will extend his stay-at-home order until April 30 to keep the state in line with the federal guidelines on social distancing announced by President Donald Trump on Sunday.
The Legislature is expected to meet briefly Tuesday and then adjourn again until a yet to be determined date.