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By Daniel J. Chacon and Robert Nott
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Lawmaker, staff test positive for COVID-19


Last updated 1/30/2021 at 2:50pm

SANTA FE — A Republican lawmaker in the New Mexico House of Representatives and four staff members at the Roundhouse have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The cases at the Capitol come just two weeks into a 60-day legislative session that requires everyone but lawmakers to receive weekly nasal COVID-19 tests to be admitted into the building.

In an email late Thursday, House Republican spokesman Matthew Garcia-Sierra wrote that he had been “informed one of our members tested positive, and I am also aware that there were four other positive cases.”

House Minority Leader Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, said by phone Thursday the infected male lawmaker is asymptomatic and doing fine.

Townsend said a Department of Health doctor told him earlier in the day that there were at least four other cases in the Capitol.

Townsend said he spoke about the issue by phone Thursday night with House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe. He said Egolf wants to limit in-person participation in future House floor sessions.

Earlier, House members voted to run a mostly virtual session, though lawmakers in that chamber have the option of being in person at the Capitol for floor debates or participating via Zoom from their offices.

If they choose to take part in person, they must remain at their desks, fortified with protective plexiglass walls, and communicate via Zoom.


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