Observers were stunned this week when Minnesota GOP legislative officials urgently warned only Republicans about a serious COVID-19 outbreak in the state Senate. No one said a word to Democratic politicians or staff who shared the same spaces.
The outbreak amid a number of GOP senators and staff appeared to be linked to a Republican senator who tested positive after attending a party caucus earlier this month.
Senate Republican chief of staff Craig Sondag alerted Republicans to the outbreak in a memo Tuesday, and instructed all GOP Senate staffers to work from home, The Star Tribune reported Saturday.
“It is outrageous and completely unacceptable that Senate DFL members were not notified of the recent COVID-19 outbreak among Senate Republicans prior to Thursday’s floor session,” Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent said in a statement. “This lack of transparency is a blatant disregard for the health and safety of others: our DFL and nonpartisan staff, members, and the communities we go home to.”
Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued a statement Saturday saying that anyone who knows about a positive COVID-19 test has a “moral obligation” to inform others who may be at risk.
“As elected officials, we must lead by example. I simply do not understand why Senate Republicans chose only to share that there were positive cases in their caucus with members of their own party before Thursday’s floor session,” he said.
A memo Saturday from Senate Republicans insisted that “the only people in close, prolonged contact with COVID-positive GOP senators were GOP senators and some GOP staff.”
But DFL members have since tested positive for COVID-19.
The memo claimed that the COVID-19 outbreak secrecy was being “misconstrued for political purposes.”
COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing to new records in the state.