ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Lawmakers gathered in Jefferson City for the start of the 2022 Missouri legislative session have been without some of their own as COVID 19 continues to spread and send one former lawmaker to the hospital this week.

Former Missouri State Representative Becky Ruth, who represented Festus until her resignation to become Director of the state’s Office of Child Advocate, shared on Facebook that she was taken by ambulance to the Mercy Jefferson emergency room Monday and will spend at least Tuesday night in the hospital.

“They just told me I have COVID pneumonia. My O2 Sats are at least staying in the good range for now. They started an IV antibiotic, and I just had a neurologist consult. They are going to do a brain MRI to check for inflammation. Your prayers are very much needed and appreciated,” she wrote.

In the Senate, Poplar Bluff’s Eddy Justice also took to social media to confirm that he was ill.

“When rumors fly it is usually best to just put the facts out there so there is no confusion. Over a week ago I contracted the COVID Virus for the first time. It got into my lungs and I now have an infection in both lungs. Per my very able physicians, I am no longer contagious but the lung infections have continued to get worse, which now have led to hospitalization. Let me be clear – I have not been or am I on a ventilator. God has blessed so far and we believe He will continue to bless until full recovery is upon us. Please continue to pray for us and we humbly thank each and everyone of you for your thoughts and prayers,”

There are no requirements for masks or vaccines at the Capitol during the session. Republicans, who control both chambers, have proposed several measures to further limit COVID-related mandates. There is on-site testing available, through the State Office of Administration.

Our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that the numbers of sick state employees has skyrocketed at the same time a change in state policy means employees can’t work remotely without losing sick days.