Update: 4 legislative aides test positive for COVID-19

A four story concrete building
Alaska State Capitol building (left) and Dimond Courthouse, Juneau, Alaska, January. 23, 2017. (Skip Gray/360 North)

Update — March 1, 1:32 p.m.

Another House staff member received a positive COVID-19 test result on Monday, raising the total number of legislative staff with positive test results since last week to four.

Information about whether the person had close contact with any of the others who had tested positive wasn’t immediately available.

Original story — March 1, 10:47 a.m.

Two close contacts of Rep. Mike Cronk and one Alaska Senate staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 since Cronk tested positive on Wednesday. All three new positive cases are isolating away from the Capitol. 

Fifteen people have been identified as close contacts of Cronk, a Tok Republican, and are currently quarantining, according to an email from Jessica Geary to legislators and legislative staff. Geary is the executive director of the Legislative Affairs Agency, a nonpartisan office that supports the Legislature, including on personnel and Capitol maintenance issues. 

RELATED: Alaska House Republicans name lawmaker who tested positive for COVID-19

The Senate staff case is unrelated to Cronk, according to Geary. That person was free of symptoms through Saturday morning. 

Those quarantining who remain free of symptoms will be tested after seven days. If the tests are negative, they will be released from quarantine on the eighth day. The quarantine rules follow guides from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The Legislature requires that everyone who works in the Capitol — including all legislators, staff members and news reporters — undergo rapid tests for the coronavirus every four or five days. 

Cronk tested positive after attending an Alaska Outdoor Council banquet on Feb. 20 that other Republican legislators and Gov. Mike Dunleavy also attended. Dunleavy also tested positive last week. 

The House didn’t hold any in-person committee meetings from Thursday through Sunday. House Speaker Louise Stutes has announced that the House will work through weekends for the time being, and asked House members and staff to avoid travelling outside of Juneau. In-person House committee meetings resumed on Monday. The Senate didn’t formally stop in-person meetings, but some were canceled late last week.

Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.

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