Right after I filed my story - the post below this one - I learned that TWO MORE House members have now tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to six in a week plus a Senate attaché, and 13 Statehouse infections so far this session. "More than anything I took the test just because so many people around us were testing positive," said Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell. "I'm going to appoint a sub." Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, said, "I'm feeling OK, just, this isn't how I wanted to end the week." Both Chaney and Ruchti got their test results this afternoon.
As I updated this post, I also was rewriting and updating my story. This is getting hard to keep up with. "It feels like it's getting out of control here," said Ruchti, who has been habitually wearing a mask at the Statehouse. "Which I guess is the definition of a pandemic, huh?" Chaney also has worn a mask, except when he's actively speaking or presiding over his committee.
Both said they hadn't noticed any symptoms of COVID-19.
"Kind of in retrospect, I guess, a little bit of a clearing of the throat," Chaney said, and maybe "felt a little off. I thought maybe I'm just stressed a little, or over-thinking it."
"But more than anything, I took the test just because so many people around us were testing positive and I thought, well, I'd better take a test just to double-check," he said.
Chaney said, "I hope that I've been cautious enough that I haven't helped spread it at all. I've tried to distance and do the mask and the hand sanitizer and all that, so I just hope I haven't contributed to the issue at all."
Ruchti said he took the test today "out of an abundance of caution, just because I was hearing people had it." He added, "I've actually felt really good all week."
He's been going over everyone he's been in close contact with over the last 48 to 72 hours, and reaching out to them by text to let them know. "It's not a very fun text to write," he said.
Ruchti said, "I have reason to believe that there might be questions about trying to take a recess for a couple weeks, and I don't know how serious those are. So ... I'm going to get home, and then see what happens tomorrow or over the weekend and if we're going to continue, then I guess I'll get a sub to come over."
You can read our full, updated story online here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Friday's print edition of the Idaho Press.