Alaska lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19, meetings are cancelled

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, waits for lawmakers to arrive for a floor session on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (Peter Segall/Juneau Empire via AP, Pool)

A member of Alaska’s House of Representatives has tested positive for COVID-19.

The House member has not yet been publicly identified. In a letter first reported by the Anchorage Daily News, House Speaker Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, cancelled all House meetings on Thursday.

This is the second COVID-19 scare the Legislature has had this week, though the first appears to have been a false positive.

Legislative Affairs Director Jessica Geary said the two don’t appear to be related and they aren’t close contacts of each other.

The legislative staff member who tested positive on Monday was sent home for quarantining and follow-up testing. Geary said up to 15 close contacts self-isolated.

But that person then got two negative tests and has since been cleared by public health.

Legislators and staff who work at the Capitol must be tested for COVID-19 every five days and are screened for symptoms daily in order to gain access to the building.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy also tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Rashah McChesney is a photojournalist turned radio journalist who has been telling stories in Alaska since 2012. Before joining Alaska's Energy Desk , she worked at Kenai's Peninsula Clarion and the Juneau bureau of the Associated Press. She is a graduate of Iowa State University's Greenlee Journalism School and has worked in public television, newspapers and now radio, all in the quest to become the Swiss Army knife of storytellers.

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