DES MOINES, Iowa — Five people at the Iowa State Capitol have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the legislative session last week.

State Sens. Zach Wahls and Nate Boulton announced in the last several days that they had tested positive, while fully vaccinated and boosted. It’s not publicly known whether the other cases were among lawmakers, staff or other employees at the Iowa State Capitol.

“We do have five confirmed cases that have been reported so far. We all have families at home. I have young kids, so we don’t want to jeopardize our families or bring this back to our community,” said State Rep. Lindsay James (D) from Dubuque.

The COVID-19 protocols have been in place for a while, set by the Republican leadership. There are no mask mandates at the Capitol and no requirements for reporting a positive case. The Iowa Senate Majority Leader was asked if there was a chance some people had been positive and not reported it.

“Under our processes, you are not required to self report. To my knowledge, everyone that has gotten COVID over the last two years has reported,” said State Sen. Jack Whitver (R) from Ankeny. “We let the leaders know so each caucus knows there has been a positive case.”

Whitver says mitigation of the virus comes through Zoom meetings in subcommittees and committees, limiting people on the floor of the Senate and social distancing when possible. However, James says there are no mitigation strategies and wants there to be a change in the future.

“I hope there will be changes,” said James. “This is an evolving situation, as we have learned over the last year and a half, and I hope that this past week will provoke some conversation.”

According to the Republican leadership, there has been no talk of changing the current guidelines.

“We haven’t really thought about that,” said Whitver. “One thing I have learned through COVID is don’t make predictions about the future. Things will change all the time.”

Whitver added that legislators are able to work from home and run subcommittees in their living rooms. He credited the changes made during the initial phase of the pandemic to allow the legislative body to keep moving forward.