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North Dakota lawmaker who helped organize anti-vaccine mandate rally tests positive for COVID-19

Rep. Jeff Hoverson told The Forum that he tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, Nov. 5.

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Republican Minot Rep. Jeff Hoverson speaks at a rally against mandatory mask-wearing on April 5, 2021. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

BISMARCK — Rep. Jeff Hoverson says he tested positive for COVID-19 and won't be attending a Monday, Nov. 8, rally against vaccine mandates that he helped plan.

The Republican lawmaker from Minot told The Forum that he tested positive on Friday, Nov. 5, and that he is taking ivermectin tablets prescribed for humans, which are designed to treat parasitic worms.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not authorized ivermectin as a treatment to treat or prevent COVID-19, and warns that taking large doses of it can be dangerous. The FDA also says there is no current data showing the drug is an effective treatment for COVID-19.

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Hoverson said he is taking one pill per day and that he feels the pills are helping his symptoms. He said he's not sure how he contracted COVID-19, but that he is a public figure and a priest, so he is around others regularly.

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Demonstrators attend the "We The People" rally on the North Dakota Capitol grounds Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Bismarck. Kyle Martin / The Forum

The North Dakota Legislature began its special session on Monday, and Hoverson said he is in Minot conducting business remotely. Lawmakers have proposed multiple bills that would curb vaccine mandates in North Dakota, and on Monday they will decide which bills will continue forward.

Hoverson told The Forum he does not believe being fully vaccinated would have helped prevent him from contracting the coronavirus.

At noon Monday on the Capitol grounds, demonstrators are expected to protest against vaccine mandates. Hoverson helped plan the rally, along with four Minot-area GOP district chairs. People were already gathering in front of the building on Monday morning.

"Out of respect for others, I will not be there," Hoverson said. "I want to make sure I'm not contagious and there's very capable people running the rally."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.

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