Two Brooklyn-based members of the New York Assembly, Charles Barron and Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene Weinstein, tested positive for the coronavirus.
It comes to my attention that two of our Assembly colleagues Helene Weinstein and Charles Barron diagnosed with COVID-19. It is important to note that both members have not been in Albany since early March for separate reasons.
Weinstein, 67, chairs a major committee; Barron, 69, is known as an outspoken lawmaker and is married to a New York City Councilwoman, Inez Barron. Weinstein in a statement said she tested positive today and not been in Albany since March 4:
Assembly woman Rodneyse Bichotte, also from Brooklyn and the newly-elected chairwoman of the borough’s Democratic Party, said that Weinstein is well, but Barron has needed to be hospitalized though she did not know if he was still in the hospital.
“I sent Charles and his wife a note. We’re praying for him,” “I was with Charles recently. He look fine. He looked as healthy as ever.” both Brooklyn lawmakers were infected this evening, Bichotte said .
Heastie did not immediately respond to reporters’ questions of when the lawmakers became sick.
The statehouse and Legislative Office Building will undergo “an intensive cleaning,” Gov. Cuomo and Heastie said in a joint press release Saturday night.
“Additionally, out of an abundance of caution we are closing the Capitol to visitors effective tomorrow,” the statement added.
“We are working hand in glove to contain and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in New York but we will continue to act aggressively to protect the public health.”
Cuomo had alluded to the possibility of Albany lawmakers catching the virus.
“In terms of getting the budget done, this is a situation where we have to anticipate, and you have several hundred legislators at the rate of infection if the rate of infection is anything that we believe it to be, there will be legislators who will contract the virus,” he said 90 minutes before Heastie’s announcement, during a Saturday evening press call.
“Just on the numbers, you have people in that proximity that we have in the capitol, somebody does test positive that person will be in proximity to a number of people.” Cuomo said he was considering closing the statehouse to visitors.
“On getting the budget done quickly, we are working to accelerate the budget because we want to anticipate future issues that we’re gonna have to deal with,” he added.