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Pennsylvania lawmaker accuses Republicans of covering up their exposure to coronavirus

A Democratic state lawmaker in Pennsylvania released a profanity-laced video Wednesday accusing several Republican colleagues of covering up their COVID-19 status, potentially putting others at risk. He called for those GOP legislators to be investigated and prosecuted by the state attorney general.

State Representative Brian Sims claims Democrats weren't told that a Republican lawmaker they served with tested positive and that four others had self-quarantined after being exposed.

"Holy s****. Holy s****, exposing all of us up here to this crap," Sims said in a 12-minute video he posted on his Facebook page. "While covering up what was going on, while simultaneously telling people, telling families that it was safe to be outside, that it was safe to be interacting with other people, while you were testing positive, while you were quarantining the people around you, while you were doing contact tracing."

Sims, who represents a district in Philadelphia, said that some of the GOP lawmakers who hid their exposure to the virus are the same ones pushing for Pennsylvania's economy to reopen and insisting it's safe for the public.

"I never ever, ever knew that the Republican leadership of this state would put so many of us at risk for partisanship to cover up a lie," he said. "And that lie is that we're all safe from COVID."

Sims disclosed that he had donated a kidney earlier this year, which could leave him more susceptible to coronavirus complications. 

"I didn't donate my kidney to save somebody's life so that I could die at the hands of Republicans who are being callous liars," he said.

In the video, Sims said Democrats learned that at least one Republican had tested positive for coronavirus but kept coming to the state capitol for at least a week afterward. 

Republican state Representative Andrew Lewis announced Wednesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, but said he had stopped coming to the capitol a week before, CBS Philly reports. He said he "only interacted with a couple of people" and he did not reveal his diagnosis earlier because he wanted to "protect their privacy."

Lewis told CBS Harrisburg affiliate WHP he had a "very light" case of the virus, and that his experience supports the calls from Republicans for reopening workplaces during the pandemic.

"If anything, my experiences have shown that this is something that is doable — to get back to work," Lewis said.

He added that he informed human resources about his diagnosis before alerting the public. 

Sims also singled out Republican state Representative Russ Diamond, whom he said had been quarantining for weeks even as he led the push for reopening the state.

Diamond responded on Twitter: "Lefties whine because I self-quarantined but didn't get tested after possible COVID 'contact.' Confirmed by my doc: No reason for testing, even if I could get tested without symptoms."

Sims said the Republican House leader should resign and there should be a "full-blown" investigation by Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Another Democrat, state Representative Kevin Boyle, sent a letter to Shapiro asking him to investigate House GOP leadership and "any other potentially infected House Republican members who failed to duly notify Members and staff." 

The state's attorney general has not announced an investigation. 

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