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Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Flanagan to quarantine after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

Health commissioner Jan Malcolm will also quarantine for 10 days after potential exposure, following CDC guidance.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, and Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm will quarantine for ten days after a staff member received a positive test result for COVID-19 Wednesday morning.

"While Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm were not within six feet of the staff member for more than 15 minutes, they were in the same room as the staff member for the duration of a press conference on Monday," said Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann in a released statement.

The only press event on the books Monday was at the Mall of America, an update of the COVID stimulus package that was also attended by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and U.S. Representatives Angie Craig and Betty McCollum. The Governor's spokesman confirmed for KARE 11 that the MOA event is where the potential exposure took place. 

Klobuchar's office says the senator will not be quarantining on advice from the Office of the Attending Physician, as she was not within six feet of the infected staffer for a 15-minute time period.

Smith's office tells KARE 11's Gordon Severson that the senator will also not quarantine, as she has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for several weeks, and also took full precautions including wearing a mask at the event and social distancing.  

The offices of Craig and McCollum say they too have completed the two-shot COVID vaccination series, and neither representative plans to quarantine. Both are forging ahead with their Congressional schedules.

Malcolm will update the situation during a regularly scheduled call with reporters at 2 p.m. Wednesday. We will carry the call live at kare11.com, and share it on all our social platforms.

According to the governor's office, Walz, Flanagan and Malcolm will quarantine until March 25, following CDC guidance.

In addition, Gov. Walz is postponing his State of the State address, originally scheduled for March 21 in Mankato, until he has completed quarantine.

"Governor Walz has not yet been vaccinated. Lieutenant Governor Flanagan has only received one of two required Moderna doses. Commissioner Malcolm has received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine but is still within the 14 day waiting period," Tschann said in the statement. "The Governor hopes this serves as an important reminder for Minnesotans that, while we are close to the end of the pandemic, we must continue to take COVID-19 seriously. Wear a mask, social distance, get tested, and sign up to get vaccinated."

The governor will continue virtual communications with Minnesotans during the quarantine period.

Gov. Walz was originally scheduled to appear at an event marking the opening of a new community vaccination site in St. Cloud Wednesday morning, but his appearance was abruptly canceled a short time before the event.

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