Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka tests positive for COVID-19

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka announced Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantining for several days.

In a statement, Gazelka wrote, "Today I received confirmation of my positive covid test. I have been in quarantine since experiencing symptoms last Monday and will remain in quarantine as long as my doctor advises me to. I did not attend session on Thursday due to a scheduled trip, and we extended our trip to avoid breaking my quarantine. We followed CDC and airline requirements during our travel and I’m very thankful my wife, Maralee, has tested negative for covid."

Gazelka said he is not experiencing any major symptoms and expects to make a full recovery.

"We have learned a lot about this virus and how to treat it, we must remain cautiously optimistic that we will find a way to live with it. Our future cannot be prolonged isolation, face coverings, and limited activities. Our children aren’t learning, our seniors deserve better than to die alone, and the rise in mental health concerns cannot be ignored."

The Senate Majority leader also addressed the recent report that GOP officials failed to dislose positive COVID-19 cases to DFL members ahead of session.

“Senate operations are an essential service and precautions were taken to prevent spreading covid; no one was put at any more risk than any other special session. The deliberate choice to use a covid diagnosis as a political tool to blame just Republicans when community spread is uncontrolled is indicative of failed leadership looking for a scapegoat. Minnesotans deserve better.” 

At least two other senators have tested positive. Days before the coronavirus outbreak in the Minnesota Senate Republican caucus, the GOP held a large, in-person dinner party to celebrate their election results, a GOP spokeswoman confirmed to FOX 9.

Sunday morning, Minnesota health officials reported 7,559 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 more deaths. So far, the state has seen a total of 223,581 cases and 2,905 deaths.