Finger-pointing on both sides of aisle after report of Roundhouse COVID cases

Coronavirus New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – There have been six positive cases at the Roundhouse since testing began there. There is a lot of finger-pointing and blame being hurled around. Out of the 1,186 tests taken at the Roundhouse, that’s a positivity rate of less than half a percent.

House Democrats said they’re cracking down on safety measures. “I have observed repeat violations of the mask requirements so their access to the committee rooms have been revoked. They are free to participate in all the committees but will need to do so not in a congregate setting,” said Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D- Santa Fe).

Legislative Services say three cases were confirmed before the session started on Jan. 19. Since the session started, House Republicans said one of their members contracted the virus along with two other staffers. Legislative Services said they don’t know where each case of COVID was contracted, but the Department of Health is doing contact tracing on those cases.

With this handful of positive cases, the Senate said they’ll continue doing what they’ve been doing: a hybrid of in-person and virtual meetings. The House will no longer let members in committee rooms.

“If we continue this process of virtual session, it will be just as successful as our virtual education system has been and that is terribly ineffective,” said Rep. James Townsend (R- House Minority Leader).

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House are pointing the finger at each other for lack of compliance with COVID-safe practices. Lawmakers said despite the cases, the legislative session will continue.

The Speaker of the House said only leadership, tech people and the clerk will be allowed on the floor of the chambers for the rest of the 60-day session.

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