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Iowa legislators say an individual in the Statehouse tested positive for COVID-19

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 7:38 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) -Iowa legislators learned via email on Friday that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

According to a tweet by 33rd District Senator Rob Hogg, legislators received an email on Friday night informing them that “someone associated with the Iowa House of Representatives has tested positive for COVID-19. They were last in the building January 13 and tested on January 15, 2021.”

Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, of Iowa’s 22nd District, tweeted on Friday “It only took 5 days for confirmed COVID-19 positive case associated with the Iowa House. Our risk in Polk CO of having 1 positive in a gathering of 100 is 78%. This is why we need real safety precautions.”

Republicans in the House and Senate, who hold the majority in both chambers and get to set the rules for this session, have decided not to require legislators, staff or visitors to wear masks.

This announcement of the COVID-positive individual comes after the Iowa Public Health Association sent Iowa State Senators and Representatives a letter on Thursday urging them to wear masks and practice COVID safety measures, stating “there is no rationale for the State Capitol to be excluded from Governor Reynolds’ proclamation [requiring that people two or older wear face coverings inside indoor spaces open to the public].”

Last Monday, a group called Informed Choice Iowa gathered at the Capitol to protest mask requirements. According to their website, the group is “a non-profit, true grassroots organization consisting of a diverse group of Iowans. We advocate for vaccine safety, informed consent, and strongly oppose health mandates.”

A spokesperson for the Iowa House of Republicans sent a statement to KCCI in Des Moines on Saturday, stating: “For the privacy of the individual, the name and position of the person who tested positive for COVID-19 cannot be shared. The Chief Clerk is working with the individual to notify anyone they may have come into contact with.”

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