House identifies member who tested positive for COVID-19
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Thursday morning, Alaska House Republicans identified the lawmaker who tested positive for COVID-19. Rep. Mike Cronk, R-Tok, tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday evening, a press release said. The Interior lawmaker is experiencing mild symptoms and is currently isolating at his Juneau residence.
Contact tracers have begun identifying Cronk’s close contacts Thursday morning. As of Thursday morning, House Republicans said, no other members or staff have tested positive, and Cronk’s staff had all tested negative.
“Coming to Juneau, we all knew the risk,” Cronk said in the release, “but we have a job to do. I will be working from home and look forward to rejoining my colleagues as soon as my doctor clears me.”
An email from the House speaker Wednesday gave first notice of a positive result among a member of the House. Speaker Louise Stutes did not then name the representative who tested positive.
A recording of the House floor session on Gavel Alaska shows that all members were in attendance Wednesday morning, with the exception of Rep. Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage, who did show up later in the day.
Earlier this week, Alaska House Republicans shared photos of Cronk and Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, the caucus leader, and Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, at the Alaska Outdoor Council Banquet. A spokesperson for House Republicans said Thursday evening that all three House members at the event were tested and that the other two tested negative and will continue to be tested in the coming days.
All committee meetings scheduled for Thursday have been canceled and members, along with their staff, are being asked to not enter the building unless absolutely necessary.
The decision was made after consultation with the Legislative Affairs Agency, according to the email.
“It is with the deepest regret that I take this drastic measure but the safety of members of this House, as well as supporting staff is paramount,” Stutes wrote.
The move will help the contact tracing process and allow cleaning to happen within the building, Stutes said.
Thursday, Stutes asked House members and their staff to avoid traveling outside Juneau unless absolutely necessary. “The House of Representatives has much work before us,” Stutes wrote in an email. “Further, recent events highlight the likelihood of additional COVID protocol delays and the increased risk of contagion from traveling outside of the Capitol Building bubble.”
Stutes said House members would be working weekends until their business is concluded in order to fulfill their obligations to their constituents.
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