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Vaccinated state Senate President Don Harmon recovering from breakthrough COVID-19 case

The senate’s top Democrat, who was vaccinated in spring, self isolated and sought testing after experiencing mild symptoms last week. A spokesman said the Oak Park Democrat will not attend any political events this week at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, stands on the floor of the Illinois Senate in Springfield in June.
Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, stands on the floor of the Illinois Senate in Springfield in June.
Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP file.

Months after he was vaccinated against COVID-19, state Senate President Don Harmon is recovering from what he described as “mild symptoms” of the disease.

“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated and also to not let their guard down as we try to get back to normal,” Harmon said in a statement.

The senate’s top Democrat, who was vaccinated in spring, self isolated and sought testing after experiencing mild symptoms last week.

The diagnosis makes Harmon the first state senator to report a breakthrough case of the virus.

Breakthrough cases — when someone tests positive for COVID-19 after they’ve been fully vaccinated — have been on the rise in Illinois.

Harmon’s spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment on whether the Oak Park Democrat is the first known breakthrough case in the state’s upper legislative chamber.

State Sen. Don Harmon speaks at a news conference in North Lawndale on the Southwest Side in June.
State Sen. Don Harmon speaks at a news conference in North Lawndale on the Southwest Side in June.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Harmon’s political spokesman said he would not attend any political events this week at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Harmon was slated to speak at the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association brunch on Wednesday.

Other state lawmakers, including House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, and Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, previously contracted the virus.

In a statement, Harmon said he’s “even more grateful to be vaccinated, given how mild my symptoms have been.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 899 vaccinated patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 since January — 189 vaccinated people have died from the virus or complications from it since then, according to the state’s figures. That amounts to 2.68% of the state’s death toll since the start of the year.