TRENTON — Two days after announcing a stringent testing protocol for access to the state Assembly chamber this week, Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin announced he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Anyone attending Monday's voting session as well as a reorganization meeting on Tuesday is being required to produce a negative COVID test, regardless of vaccination status.
“I am experiencing very mild cold-like symptoms, but feel fine and am in good spirits,” Coughlin said in a written statement, adding “I remain extremely grateful that my symptoms are more than manageable, which is thanks to the science of vaccination and boosters, as well as the extra precaution of wearing a mask."
The Democrat from Middlesex County would self-isolate while taking part remotely in both days' activities.
“It is for this exact reason, with the goal of protecting the health and safety of my fellow members, invited guests, and all involved in our proceedings, that the update to our policy was made last week," he continued.
Under the updated policy, a negative COVID-19 rapid test taken after noon Saturday would be required of all who planned to attend the Monday or Tuesday meetings.
Members and staff would need to certify to their respective house leadership that they had a negative result.
A rapid testing site would be available at the Statehouse Monday for Assembly members and staff who could not get tested beforehand.
The Assembly reorganization planned at the Trenton War Memorial for Tuesday is the session at which all 80 members take the oath of office, including new members elected in November.
With previous reporting by Michael Symons