Two lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19 following a House session held at a Manchester hotel. (Dave Cummings | New Hampshire Bulletin)
Two New Hampshire House representatives tested positive for COVID-19 after a two-day meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Manchester last week, House leadership announced in an email to members Sunday.
The members, who were not identified, reported their positive test results to House leadership, the email stated. The Speaker’s Office then carried out a contact-tracing effort to determine who was in close contact with the COVID-positive lawmakers. The office has directly notified those who were in close contact, the email noted.
The positive test results came after more than 350 of the state’s 400 representatives had gathered in a conference room in Manchester for the first two days of the 2022 legislative session on Jan. 5 and 6. That venue was chosen to keep the meetings in person but still attempt social distancing between members, the Speaker’s Office has said.
In 2021, the House met on indoor athletic fields at the New Hampshire Sportsplex in Bedford, but that venue is not available for booking this year, the Speaker’s Office has said.
Throughout the two days of voting last week, Democrats and some Republicans wore masks through the proceedings, but most on the Republican side of the room did not. Democrats have pushed for options to allow members to vote and give speeches remotely; Republicans have voted down the efforts, arguing that the idea is impractical and that business should be conducted in person.
In Sunday’s email to members, the Speaker’s Office urged personal responsibility.
“Please maintain a high degree of vigilance as community transmission rates continue to be high across the state,” the email stated. “Please monitor yourself for symptoms, and stay home if you’re sick.”
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