ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Six Maryland state senators missed their morning floor session Tuesday as a precaution after positive rapid tests for the coronavirus, Senate President Bill Ferguson said.
Thirty-eight senators were present and work continued. Contact tracing has occurred, and lawmakers are waiting for more reliable polymerase chain reaction test results Tuesday evening, Ferguson said at the start of the morning session. He noted there were “several positive rapid tests.”READ MORE: UPDATE: Maryland State Senators Get Negative COVID-19 Test Results
Ferguson said they are awaiting the more reliable PCR test results, which they hope to have by later Tuesday evening. Once those results are in, leaders will make decisions about any possible changes.
Contact tracing of those who tested positive has been conducted, he added.
The Senate president said lawmakers are using the rapid tests, which are less reliable, on Tuesdays and Fridays as part of lawmakers’ surveillance program for the virus, as they conduct their 90-day session in person at the Maryland State House.
“We have had members quarantine during the legislative session out of an abundance of caution but we have not been notified of any positive member PCR tests during the legislative session,” Alexandria Hughes, House Speaker Adrienne Jones’s chief of staff, wrote in an email.READ MORE: Maryland General Assembly Session Begins With Changes Due To COVID-19 Pandemic
“Just a reminder that this is what we planned for,” Ferguson told lawmakers. “From the very outset, this was about risk mitigation. All of the plans and operations that we put together were built around the possibility of the challenges of trying to legislate in the midst of a pandemic, and so we will continue to err on the side of health and caution.”
When the General Assembly session began last month, there were a number of changes in place due to COVID-19, including glass barriers between lawmakers and limits on the number of people allowed in various parts of the building.
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