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Rapid testing at the Utah State Capitol identifies 3 COVID-19 cases

COVID rapid testing
Posted at 2:53 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 18:46:37-05

SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 rapid testing offered to lawmakers, staffers and interns for the Utah State Legislature have identified three cases so far.

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Senate Republican leaders disclosed the positive test results on Friday during a briefing with reporters. They have ordered the rapid testing at least twice a week to detect the deadly virus as everyone crowds into the Capitol for the session to pass bills and a multi-billion dollar budget.

"It’s working," Senate President J. Stuart Adams said.

Two were staff members and the third case was an intern. No further details were available, but they are quarantining.

It remains unclear at what point the Utah State Legislature would halt if there was an outbreak. Some lawmakers are already working remotely because of crowding issues. The legislature has also created bigger committee rooms to hold bill hearings where people can be physically-distant.

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House Speaker Brad Wilson announced the Capitol would re-open to the public on Monday. It was closed last year because of COVID-19. It was to re-open for the start of the legislative session, but those plans were shuttered because of the potential for violent protests tied to the inauguration of President Biden.

"I think we're taking it day by day," Speaker Wilson said.

When the Capitol re-opens, masks are mandated and physical distancing will be required.