SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state senator said Thursday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will quarantine at home, with a special legislative session underway on political redistricting.
Democratic Sen. Bobby Gonzales of Taos told The Associated Press that he tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday through a rapid test. He informed Senate leadership out of concern for anyone who might also have been exposed through close contact.
Gonzales said he was scheduled on Thursday to undergo another coronavirus test at a hospital in Taos. He is fully vaccinated, including a recent booster shot, and was experiencing some mild nasal discomfort.
Gonzales said he also was tested on Saturday with a negative result before meeting that day with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. He underwent another test Wednesday as required by the governor’s office in anticipation of another meeting with Lujan Grisham that did not occur.
In response to Gonzales’ situation, contact tracing was underway at the state Capitol. A Senate floor session was canceled for unspecified reasons.
A member of the governor’s staff is quarantining “out of an abundance of caution” after interacting with Gonzales on Wednesday, Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett Meyers said in an email.
“The governor is tested regularly and has never returned a positive test,” said Meyers, without specifying the timing of recent tests. “After the senator’s positive rapid test, the governor’s scheduled meeting with legislative leadership this morning was conducted remotely … out of an abundance of caution.”
Meyers said the legislative session presents a heightened COVID-19 risk and that those meeting in-person with the governor are being asked to take a rapid test before. She did not address whether there are health concerns related to Saturday’s meeting between Gonzales and the governor.
Gonzales said a prolonged quarantine would likely exclude him from participation in Senate decisions, under rules that restrict online participation.
Gonzales said he was open to sharing his medical information to help others make informed decisions. “I have nothing to hide,” Gonzales said. “The more people are aware of it, fine. That’s the world we are in today.”
Legislative leaders are requiring proof of vaccination for the public to gain entrance to the Capitol during the current legislative session. Masks are required indoors with few exceptions.
Legislators are not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, while immunizations are required under a state public health order for employees of the governor’s office — located on the top floor of the state Capitol.
Lujan Grisham has been vaccinated for COVID-19, including a booster shot.