ND senator tests positive for coronavirus

BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota Sen. Terry Wanzek says he has contracted COVID-19.

The 63-year-old Jamestown senator says he took a rapid test Monday and immediately left the Capitol after a test-taker told him about the positive results.

Wanzek says he doesn’t believe he has any close contacts in the Legislature and has been wearing his mask. The senator shared the news remotely during the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting.

Wanzek will quarantine at home for 10 days, KQDJ reported.

North Dakota lawmakers are required to wear face coverings in the House and Senate chambers and other shared spaces. But, some lawmakers regularly eat lunch together in the Capitol cafeteria without masks.

Grand Forks Republican Sen. Ray Holmberg tested positive for COVID-19 following the Legislature’s three-day organizational session in December, which he called a “petri dish” for infection. He has fully recovered.

North Dakota health officials on Tuesday reported 138 new positive COVID-19 tests and two deaths in the last day, increasing the total number of cases to 96.071 and the cumulative fatalities to 1,386 since the start of the pandemic. Hospitalizations were down 3, to 88.

After spending several weeks near the end of 2020 as the worst state in the number of new virus cases relative to population, North Dakota was ranked 50th per capita in data compiled Monday by The COVID Tracking Project.