Wisconsin state senator who blocked public health mandates sought hospital treatment for COVID-19

Wisconsin state senator who blocked public health mandates sought hospital treatment for COVID-19

Republican state senator André Jacque has taken a trip to the hospital after experiencing pneumonia brought on by COVID-19. On Monday, the De Pere Republican sent an email to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel saying that after some of his family members tested positive for COVID-19 last week, he himself had also tested positive and ended up at the hospital. Whether or not he was admitted to the hospital is unknown. 

The Journal Sentinel reports that the anti-mask, anti-vaccine state senator texted that he became sick shortly after returning from the State Capitol in Madison, where he testified during two different hearings, at least one maskless. “Fatigue has been a long-standing health concern of mine, but otherwise I had good health readings when I tested positive. My office has been following all protocols, and I personally reached out to the limited number of close contacts from last week in case I was positive at the time. I do not believe any of my staff or close contacts are experiencing symptoms. Unfortunately, I am now at the hospital with pneumonia, which I have had previously. I do not have further information to share at this point.”

Jacque claimed in his messages to the newspaper that he had been quick to pass on information of his positive test. However, many legislators in whose company he was brazenly not wearing a mask last week say that isn’t true. State Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee—who was on one of the committees Sen. Jacque spoke to last week—told the Journal Sentinel that he heard about the positive test from rumor. “It’s incredibly frustrating somebody had a sense he had tested positive on Friday and we haven’t heard anything until Tuesday.”

Sen. Larson expanded on this statement to the Beast, “I can tell you, I was pissed. There were murmurs of this since Friday, that Jacque had gotten a positive test, which means that he had to have had it three or four days before the symptoms showed up and he got a test. So we have been waiting for confirmation, but the committee chairman says he doesn’t think [Jacque] had it on Wednesday, so he doesn’t have to notify anybody—they have a colleague who was in the hospital, and they’re still shrugging it off.”

State Sen. Jacque introduced legislation this past April that would deny businesses the right to mandate that employees be vaccinated. At the time, Jacque defended the legislation as a protection of a “private medical decision,” telling reporters that, “To the extent that I think the general public has been asked about it, a pretty strong majority says that no, this is not something where big government coercion, should rule the day, it should be based on communication, and you know, that personal choice.”

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the bill, in April, along with another similar bill that conservatives put together that would have barred the state Department of Health Services and local health officials from requiring anyone to get the vaccine. At the time, Gov. Evers wrote that he was vetoing the bill as he had the previous bill because “our response to this pandemic should be about following the science and public health experts and working together to save as many lives as we can, not finding ways to make it harder to fight this virus or keep Wisconsinites safe.”

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the 40-year-old Jacque has six children, including an infant. The infant is Jacque’s excuse for not acting sooner as he says he felt “largely asymptomatic,” but also felt a fatigue that he has dealt with being the parent of a new child. Jacque has not said whether or not he was vaccinated.

The high road:

Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee’s statement on Senator Andre Jacque’s recent hospitalization. pic.twitter.com/RjTd9cAnVu

— Wisconsin SSDC (@WISenateDems) August 17, 2021

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