House Speaker Hortman tests positive for COVID-19

Updated 1:35 p.m.

woman looks at camera
House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park)
MN Legislature

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, disclosed Wednesday she has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a tweet, Hortman said she is “fully vaccinated, boosted and feeling fine.”

She said she took a test after experiencing congestion she thought might be attributable to spring allergies.

Hortman has been in close proximity lately with Gov. Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, other key legislators and top Capitol staff.

Time is running short in the legislative session. The deadline to adjourn is on May 23. Large differences remain between Democrats and Republicans on how to spend the projected budget surplus.

Mandatory masking and many other COVID mitigation steps have receded at the Capitol since infection numbers have fallen back from peaks earlier this year.

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A spokesperson for Walz said the governor isn't sure he's a close contact and is up to date on his shots. Walz will be wearing a mask Wednesday as a precaution.

A spokesperson for Miller said he is following CDC guidelines and does not need to quarantine. Miller is not experiencing any COVID symptoms, the spokesperson said, adding that If that changes, he will take the recommended precautions.

"I spoke with Speaker Hortman on the phone this morning, and I wish her a speedy recovery," Miller said Wednesday.

At an event Wednesday Walz said that he had not been within six feet of Hortman recently, even as they have met to discuss budget issues. Despite the illness, Walz said end-of-session negotiations will continue with Hortman participating via Zoom.

“She thought it was seasonal allergies. But she did the right thing,” Walz said. “She said ‘you know what, I better test just to make sure I’m not spreading it to others.’ That’s how we break the chain of this. But I think it will be fine. And again, if timing works right on this, the way I’m thinking by next Monday she’ll probably be able to be back in person.”