Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka Tests Positive for COVID-19
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Sunday he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The East Gull Lake lawmaker said in a statement that he has been in quarantine since experiencing symptoms on Monday and is following the advice of his doctor.
“I am not experiencing major issues or symptoms and I expect like 99% of people, I will make a full recovery,” Gazelka said. “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.”
Gazelka’s statement said the “blaming and shaming of a positive covid diagnosis has got to stop” and some are using 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.”
In addition, Minnesota’s Democratic senators are calling on Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to resign from his leadership post after Senate Republicans failed to notify their Democratic colleagues, nonpartisan staff and Capitol security of a potential COVID-19 outbreak among GOP ranks in advance of a special session last week.
Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent called on Gazelka to step down on Sunday, hours after he disclosed that he tested positive for COVID-19. Kent said GOP gatherings led to an outbreak and the information wasn’t shared, and there is still uncertainty about who was exposed.
“Under his leadership, Republican caucus members have engaged in high-risk behaviors, he has misled Minnesotans about their actions, and they have made excuses instead of being accountable,” she said in a statement.
Gazelka did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday. In a statement Sunday, he said he has been in quarantine since he began experiencing symptoms Nov. 9 and “will remain in quarantine as long as my doctor advises me to.” He said he was not experiencing major issues or symptoms, and the “blaming and shaming” of a positive COVID-19 test has to stop.
Kent’s call for Gazelka to resign comes after reports that two other GOP senators tested positive for COVID-19.
There have been reports of in-person meetings that Republicans also held a dinner party Nov. 5 that drew more than 100 attendees. Republican senators and staffers were told of the diagnoses last Tuesday, but the memo wasn’t shared with Senate Democrats.