CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Three New Hampshire lawmakers missed Wednesday’s House session because they are quarantined over possible exposure to the new coronavirus.
House Speaker Steve Shurtleff said two Democrats and one Republican are in self-quarantine. As the session got underway, the House overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to change its rules to allow such members to vote remotely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said older people are at higher risk of getting very sick and recommends that they avoid crowds. The average age in the 400-member House is 63, but sessions went ahead as scheduled this week as lawmakers work to meet a March 26 deadline to act on bills.
The virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms in most people, and the vast majority recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
Shurtleff assured lawmakers that the House chamber had been sanitized ahead of Wednesday’s session and would be again before Thursday’s gathering.
He said he plans to speak to Gov. Chris Sununu about other measures for the Statehouse complex and is proposing a joint legislative committee on the topic. He also reminded lawmakers to temporarily leave the chamber if they are coughing or sneezing.
“We love you all dearly, but we don’t love your droplets,” he said.
Five people have tested positive for the new virus in New Hampshire.
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