3 California lawmakers out with coronavirus, surgery plans

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two fully vaccinated members of the 80-member California Assembly are quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus, and a third plans to miss portions of the last two weeks of the legislative session as she prepares for surgery.

Republican Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen said in a statement that she recently tested positive but has no symptoms. She said she is “feeling fine and I look forward to getting back to Sacramento as soon as I can to continue to represent and fight for my (Orange County-based) District.”

The Legislature enters its final crucial two weeks on Monday. Lawmakers will consider hundreds of bills before adjourning for the year on September 10.

Nguyen expects to miss next week but be back for the final week of session, after Labor Day.

Kevin McCarty, a Democrat from Sacramento, said he hopes to return to the Assembly on Monday after experiencing mild symptoms that kept him in isolation for a week.

He said he twice tested negative a week ago, then was positive on the third test “after feeling mild cold-like symptoms.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced two weeks ago that every Assembly employee must receive the coronavirus vaccine or risk losing their job, as lawmakers try to avoid an outbreak that could imperil the final days of the session.

Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said at the time that most senators and employees were vaccinated already.

Even fully vaccinated lawmakers and employees are required to wear masks while in the Capitol or their district offices. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last month ordered all state employees to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.

The leaders are particularly concerned because of the fast-spreading delta variant that is still surging and filling hospitals in many areas of the state.

Meanwhile, Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat from San Diego, said she will miss the last day of session as she prepares for breast cancer surgery the next day. She will also miss three other days before the end of session.

“I know…bad timing!” Gonzalez said in a Facebook post. “So if you need my vote, plan accordingly!”

The timing will allow her to finish treatments in time for next year’s session, she wrote.