Update: Alaska House Republicans name lawmaker who tested positive for COVID-19

wo testers sit at a table waitig for ptients
Staff of the state Legislature line up for screening on Jan. 20, 2021, in Juneau. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Updated Post — Feb. 25, 12:25 p.m.

Alaska Rep. Mike Cronk tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. He announced the result on Thursday through a press release from the House Republican caucus. He began quarantining after receiving the results, and is experiencing mild symptoms.

By late Thursday morning, no other legislators or staff had tested positive, including all of Cronk’s staff. Contact tracers are identifying Cronk’s close contacts. Cronk is a Republican from Tok.

The Alaska Landmine reported that Cronk and five other legislators were at an event on Saturday in Palmer that Gov. Mike Dunleavy also attended. Dunleavy also has tested positive for COVID-19.

Original Post — Feb. 24, 8:45 p.m.

A member of Alaska’s House of Representatives has tested positive for COVID-19.

This is the second COVID-19 scare the legislature has had this week, though someone who tested positive earlier this week has since had two negative tests.

Legislative Affairs Director Jessica Geary said the two don’t appear to be related and they aren’t close contacts of each other.

The House member has not yet been publicly identified. In a letter first reported by the Anchorage Daily News, House Speaker Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, cancelled all House meetings on Thursday.

The legislative staff member who tested positive on Monday was sent home for quarantining and follow-up testing. Geary said up to 15 close contacts quarantined.

But that person then got two negative tests and has since been cleared by public health.

Legislators and staff who work at the Capitol must be tested for COVID-19 every five days and are screened for symptoms daily in order to gain access to the building.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy also tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Correction: A previous version of this story used the phrase “false positive” to describe a person who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and then negative twice afterwards. The State of Alaska’s Department of Health & Social Services specified that despite subsequent negative tests, people who have tested positive and their close contacts must still isolate and quarantine according to the guidance they receive from public health. In some instances, people may test negative within a few days of testing positive. But, this is not routine and does not mean that they were not positive to begin with.