Walz quarantines after staff member tests positive for virus

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) β€” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is quarantining for 10 days after being exposed to a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19, the governor’s spokesman said Wednesday.

Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm were in the same room as the staff member for a news conference on Monday but did not spend more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of the individual, spokesman Teddy Tschann said in a statement. The staff member discovered on Wednesday morning that a test they took Tuesday was positive.

The three will quarantine through March 25, meaning Walz will postpone his State of the State address that had been scheduled for later this month, Tshann said.

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Reps. Angie Craig and Betty McCollum, also attended the event Monday to highlight the federal stimulus package at a community vaccination site at Mall of America.

Representatives for the congresswomen said they don’t need to quarantine because they are all fully vaccinated and did not come within 6 feet of the staff member for more than 15 minutes, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walz has not yet received a coronavirus vaccine, Flanagan has received one dose of the Moderna vaccine and Malcolm received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose shot last week.

The governor had been expected to visit a community vaccination site in St. Cloud on Wednesday morning but sent out a release postponing the visit 15 minutes before the scheduled event.

β€œThe Governor hopes this serves as an important reminder for Minnesotans that, while we are close to the end of the pandemic, we must continue to take COVID-19 seriously,” Tschann said. “Wear a mask, social distance, get tested, and sign up to get vaccinated.”

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Mohamed Ibrahim is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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