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Montana Legislature returns to in-person meetings Tuesday after COVID-19 case
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Montana Legislature returns to in-person meetings Tuesday after COVID-19 case

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Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on Tuesday after canceling floor sessions and several committee hearings last Friday and Monday because of a lobbyist having COVID-19 and the related exposure to legislators.

Eleven lawmakers are among the 12 close contacts, according to Drenda Niemann, public health officer for Lewis and Clark County.

The House will come back into session at 10 a.m. Tuesday and the Senate will return at 1 p.m.

No lawmakers have tested positive, according to a press release from Kyle Schmauch, a spokesperson for the Legislature's COVID-19 panel. The email said legislators haven't shown symptoms either.

Two close contacts were exempted from the need to quarantine because they were fully vaccinated, Niemann said, and 10 people are in quarantine.

Niemann said testing is ongoing along with efforts to reach close contacts.

"Many of them have been reached already and have been compliant," Niemann wrote in an email Monday to the Montana State News Bureau.

Lawmakers who do not develop symptoms can be tested on the fifth day of quarantine or later and be released after seven days if they are still asymptomatic and follow CDC protocol, Niemann said.

Niemann said that there have been "challenges with enforcing quarantine orders among this cohort (lawmakers) in the past."

"Leadership at the Legislature is working with public health to help address these issues moving forward," she wrote in the email.

Schmauch said in an email Monday all legislators who are close contacts to the lobbyist are quarantining away from the Capitol.

The lobbyist who tested positive on Thursday was symptomatic and symptoms started mid-last week, though Niemann did not say which specific day.

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State Bureau reporter for Lee Newspapers of Montana.

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