Report: Gazelka refuses to reveal total COVID cases in GOP outbreak

The senate majority leader is under fire for his handling of the situation.
Author:
Publish date:

The controversy over the Senate GOP's recent COVID-19 outbreak continues, with the legislature's top Republican in particular facing renewed backlash. 

In the latest development in this ongoing saga — which began earlier this month when it was revealed that Republicans had withheld their outbreak from their DFL colleagues — a new report says Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is refusing to disclose the number of senators and staff diagnosed with COVID-19. 

According to Minnesota Reformer, DFL state Sen. Matt Klein wrote Gazelka this week asking how many in his caucus had tested positive for the virus, and which of those had attended the Nov. 12 special session; Gazelka replied that Klein's request "falls outside of the Senate’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, dated and distributed Senate-wide on September 28.”

The news site says he also cited privacy reasons, but Klein responded that the requested information could be shared “in a way that respects privacy concerns, by not naming individual members.”

(You can read Minnesota Reformer's full story right here.)

This past week, Gazelka — who was among at least four Republican state senators diagnosed with COVID-19 — admitted that the GOP could have handled the outbreak and its information-sharing "differently."

The statement also took some responsibility for a post-election party held by senate Republicans in Lake Elmo, which reportedly had an attendance of 100 to 150 people, many of whom were not wearing face masks.

It also emerged that the GOP had neglected to inform the Lake Elmo Inn & Event Center, which hosted the Nov. 5 dinner party, about the outbreak.

In a Friday interview with WCCO Radio, Gazelka defended the Lake Elmo event, saying it was "legal" — but he did acknowledge that holding an indoor party where guests are consuming food and beverages made it "tricky" to wear masks properly. 

He added that he doesn't "regret that we had the celebration," noting the significance of Republican victories on Election Night; he also compared the event to the "Biden celebrators" who "suspended social distancing" to hold outdoor rallies following the president-elect's win.  

Minnesota is in the midst of another COVID-19 surge, with 750 people succumbing to the virus this month. 

Next Up

Sylvia Fowles

Phoenix, Minnesota live up to the hype in WNBA opener

Diana Taurasi hit the game-winning shot with 1.1 seconds to play.

Josh Donaldson

Oakland smacks four home runs to extend Twins' horrific start

The A's handed the Twins a 6-1 loss on Friday night.

Hy-Vee

Spring Lake Park Hy-Vee to open by the end of May

A dozen Hy-Vee stores are now located in the Twin Cities metro area.

PXG Store Manager Derek Holmes Qualifies for the PGA Championship

Minnesota golf store manager qualifies for PGA Championship

No word if he'll have to burn some vacation days to play in the PGA Championship!

police tape, crime scene

Bemidji police: 21 shots fired after 'verbal exchange' on street

Investigators say they are still searching for those responsible.

FLickr - COVID-19 vaccination - Commander, U.S. Naval Forces

As mask mandates end, vaccine disparities come to the fore

Vaccination rates in Minnesota vary widely along racial and ethnic lines.

House for sale

5 reasons things are tough for first-time homebuyers

The market for entry level homes in the Twin Cities is extremely tight.

general mills

General Mills to buy pet treats business from Tyson Foods for $1.2B

The Golden Valley company will add a number of meat treats to its portfolio.

Related

paul gazelka

DFL calls on Gazelka to resign as more is revealed about GOP's COVID outbreak

The Senate Majority Leader is under pressure over the party's COVID-19 controversy.

Paul Gazelka

Gazelka admits GOP could have handled its COVID outbreak differently

The Senate Majority Leader has been facing calls to resign for failing to inform DFL colleagues and non-partisan staff about positive cases in its Caucus.

paul gazelka

Gazelka's 'I've always said COVID-19 is serious' tweet raises eyebrows

The Senate Majority Leader has attracted plenty of attention for a Thursday tweet.

gazelka paul

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has COVID-19

Gazelka has had symptoms since last Monday.

State Capitol.

'Disgusting': DFL senators say GOP failed to disclose COVID-19 outbreak

Dems say "NO ONE in the DFL nor non-partisan staff was told."

gazelka paul

Gazelka demands Dem apology to Minnesotans, suburban moms

The Republican slammed their leadership during the riots.

paul gazelka

'Cop out': Senate GOP leader under fire for cancelling police reform hearings

Senate Maj. Leader Paul Gazelka retracted support for such hearings.

gazelka paul

Another Walz-appointed commissioner forced out by Senate GOP

The move came as the legislature began its fourth special session.