Minn. GOP State Senate Warns Only Republicans Of COVID Outbreak

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.

But there wasn’t a peep to state senate Democrats (or as the party is known in Minnesota, Democratic-Farmer-Labor), who attended a special floor session Thursday amid the secret outbreak. 

“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 (DFL) 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.”

 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.

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