Michigan Upper Peninsula lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19

Michigan Rep. Beau LaFave, a Republican from Iron Mountain, has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the fourth state lawmaker to announce a positive test result.

LaFave said Tuesday he was informed last week that someone with whom he had been in contact had tested positive, and he began feeling symptoms, including a headache and fatigue, over the weekend.

“I am working with the staff at the Capitol to inform everyone who was in contact with me during votes on the budget, election issues and other topics last week,” LaFave posted Tuesday on Facebook. “Fortunately, I was following the strict protocols we have in place before I was tested, including social distancing, frequent hand sanitizing/washing and wearing a mask.”

Rep. Beau LaFave

LaFave, am outspoken conservative legislator who often clashes with Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, said the worst of his symptoms came and went over the weekend and he is “feeling much better.”

He is up for re-election on Nov. 3 and plans to participate in a candidate forum over Zoom next week.

“If I was in the hospital I’d still do the forum,” said LaFave, who credited his local health department in Dickinson County for its help. 

He represents a portion of the Upper Peninsula, which has seen increases in new cases of the virus in recent weeks. Five counties in the Upper Peninsula are the only ones in Michigan currently at the highest risk level for COVID-19, according to a map maintained by the Harvard Global Health Institute.

In July, LaFave introduced a bill that would require the state to send “an itemized statement of the damages, costs, expenses and other losses” spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic to China.

State Reps. Karen Whitsett, Detroit, and Tyrone Carter, D-Detroit, announced they had COVID-19 in the spring in the weeks after the first cases of the virus were reported in Michigan. State Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, revealed his positive result in early August.

Another lawmaker, Rep. Isaac Robinson, D-Detroit, died on March 29 from an illness his family believed was linked to the coronavirus.

cmauger@detroitnews.com