Another Minnesota GOP senator tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. Jerry Relph becomes the fourth senator to contract the disease.
From left: Sens. David Senjem, Jerry Relph, Paul Gazelka, and Paul T. Anderson.

From left: Sens. David Senjem, Jerry Relph, Paul Gazelka, and Paul T. Anderson.

A fourth Minnesota GOP senator has confirmed they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Sen. Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud) announced that he tested positive on Friday, having been in quarantine since Tuesday, Nov. 10, when he was informed he had been in "close contact with someone who had COVID at the Senate."

Relph twice went to the emergency room over the weekend, but was allowed to return home on both occasions.

He becomes the fourth GOP senator to contract the disease in the wake of two in-person events held by the party on Nov. 5 – a Caucus meeting and a post-election celebration dinner party.

It follows Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka confirming Sunday that he had tested positive for the virus, having started experiencing symptoms on Monday, Nov. 9, the same day he flew to Florida for a pre-planned trip.

Others confirmed positive with the virus are Sens. David Senjem and Paul Anderson, while the Minnesota Reformer reported Sunday evening that at least one House GOP member has the virus, with the House GOP having held a separate party on the evening of Nov. 5, followed by an in-person Caucus meeting on Nov. 6.

What's more, there could be more cases within the party, with the GOP only releasing the names of those who give their permission.

The DFL has called on Gazelka to resign as word spread of the apparent outbreak, with the GOP failing to inform any DFL members that Senjem had tested positive prior to the Legislature's special session last Thursday, Nov. 12.

Furthermore, the Senate GOP failed to inform the venue that hosted its Nov. 5 party – an event center in Lake Elmo – about the positive cases until Sunday.

Relph did not attend the Thursday special session in person.

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