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Government, Politics & Issues

Southern Illinois U.S. Rep. Mike Bost Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Illinois Congressman Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro
Jason Rosenbaum
St. Louis Public Radio
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro, who will quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus on Thursday night. The southern Illinois Republican congressman is up for re-election on Nov. 3 when he will face Democratic nominee Ray Lenzi of Makanda.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro tested positive for coronavirus Thursday evening.

The 59-year-old congressman did not have a fever but had a mild cough and lost his sense of taste and smell rapidly, the representative said in a statement Friday.

Staff members who were in close contact with Bost will quarantine until they receive test results and his office will contact constituents he met with recently.

Bost, who is up for reelection on Nov. 3, will continue to conduct meetings remotely and isolate at home.

“We are taking this situation seriously and will continue to serve the people of Southern Illinois while doing our best to ensure their health and safety,” Bost said. “I will provide additional updates in the days ahead and am anxious to get back to work as soon as I make a full recovery.”

The three-term Republican congressman faces Democratic nominee Ray Lenzi of Makanda on Election Day. The retired Southern Illinois University Carbondale professor wished Bost well in a statement Friday morning.

“We wish him a speedy recovery and hope his family stays safe while he deals with his symptoms. Mike Bost is in our thoughts today,” Lenzi said. “This is a reminder that in order to beat this pandemic, we need to come together and work toward solutions and keep our people informed and safe.”

According to his Facebook feed, Bost recently visited America’s Central Port District in Granite City where he is pictured outdoors with executive director of the district, Dennis Wilmsmeyer. Neither were wearing masks, but were socially distanced. In a photo where Bost is pictured indoors, he was wearing a mask.

On Tuesday, the representative met with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook, fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R—Taylorville, and local officials at a news conference in Edwardsville to announce an economic recovery grant.

Bost visited Bethalto on Tuesday as well, distributing pamphlets door-to-door, according to another social media post that pictured him wearing a mask. He also attended an indoor “Get Out the Vote” rally in Alton this week. Attendees are pictured wearing masks.

Prominent Republicans and White House staff have tested positive for coronavirus recently, including President Donald Trump, senior advisor to the president Stephen Miller, and senators Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, among others..

Kelsey Landis is a reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio

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