The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:
State Sen. Jerry Relph, R-St. Cloud, has died of complications related to COVID-19, the first Minnesota lawmaker to succumb to the virus.
Relph, 76, was among a number of Republican legislators who contracted COVID-19 after contact with colleagues in mid-November.
At the time, Rachel Aplikowski, the Senate GOP spokeswoman, said Relph tested positive after having had close contact with someone in the Senate who had the virus.
DFL members called for the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka after he, Relph and state Sen. David Senjem all tested positive for the virus but did not notify Capitol staff or DFL members of the outbreak.
Republicans held a large dinner party Nov. 5 with more than 100 attendees at an arena event center, and Relph went into self-quarantine Nov. 10 after learning of his exposure there and began experiencing symptoms three days later.
Relph had voted along with all 35 Republicans and one Democratic state senator in July to suspend the peacetime emergency declared by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to handle the pandemic.