First Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Minnesota House of Representatives

(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

The first case of the COVID-19 coronavirus has been confirmed at the Minnesota House of Representatives, officials say.

Right now, it’s not clear if the case is among a lawmaker or a staffer and officials say, due to privacy laws, they won’t release further information about the individual.

“It is possible that employees working at the State Office Building and the Capitol may have been exposed,” said Minnesota House of Representatives Director of HR Kelly Knight said in an email to lawmakers. “While we understand your interest in knowing as many details as possible, we cannot share nor discuss individual personal health information.”

Wednesday, officials announced that there are now 77 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state including six instances of community spread of the disease. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesota lawmakers announced this past week that they would take a month-long break.

“The Minnesota House of Representatives is continuing to follow the guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health to keep legislators, staff, and the public safe as we do our work to respond to this pandemic,” wrote Speaker Melissa Hortman in a statement.

Lawmakers said they would still hold committee and floor sessions on an on-call basis but regular and scheduled meetings would be on-hold through April 14. The session break came days after Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order declaring a peacetime state of emergency and called for a moratorium on large gatherings in the state.

Knight says those who may have been in close contact with the person will be contacted by human resources.

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