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DFL state Sen. Lindsey Port told her legislative colleagues on Monday that she's switching to work mostly remotely as she struggles with worsening — and at times dangerous — symptoms of long haul COVID.

Since contracting COVID in 2020, the second-term senator from Burnsville has struggled with ongoing symptoms, including extreme fatigue and neuropathy in her hands, arms, feet and legs, which causes both numbness and pain and has forced her to walk with a cane.

That feeling has intensified, causing sudden paralysis in her legs. Two weeks ago, she fell at home and suffered a concussion.

"Knowing that I could be doing longer-term damage to my brain made me really realize that I needed to change how I interact at the Capitol," Port said in an interview on Monday.

Port, the chair of the Senate's Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee, carried a number of major bills through the chamber last session, including the proposal to legalize marijuana in the state. She informed her colleagues in an email that she will participate remotely in committee and floor work as a default and "join you in-person on the most important occasions, like presenting bills on the floor."

"I am proud of her candor in discussing her situation with Long COVID. I am amazed at the amount and quality of her work in spite of it and know that those she represents are in her good hands," DFL Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy said in a statement. "Cases like hers are why we have, and will continue to provide, remote participation options, which have increased access to the legislative process for members and the public."

She's the second DFL senator to move to largely remote service this session, following former DFL Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic's announcement earlier this year that her cancer had reemerged. Dziedzic led the narrowly divided chamber last year as Democrats pushed through a historic agenda, serving part of the session remotely as she recovered from a major surgery.

Port said Dziedzic set an example for how "we can show up in different ways."

"Seeing her leadership helped me realize it's OK to show up differently, in a way that maybe the Legislature is not used to," Port said. "Tons of people all over Minnesota are working remotely right now, and we can do that too."

The chamber is controlled by Democrats by a single vote, and at least one Republican senator has pushed this year to limit voting remotely after the practice was established and widely used during the pandemic. Minnesota still allows remote voting for legislators in certain circumstances.

Port said eliminating remote participation is an "outdated and unempathetic" way to look at the Legislature, which now includes many younger members with families. Legislators in both parties have had to cast votes remotely over the last four years during unexpected health or family emergencies.

Port caught COVID early in March 2020, before Minnesota had confirmed its first COVID-19 death, and wound up in the emergency room. She's opened up about the ways the virus continues to change her life, from asthmatic attacks and kidney stones to her struggles with the numbness and paralysis in her legs.

Neurological issues, difficulty breathing, brain fog, extreme fatigue as well as eye and throat issues are common signs of long COVID, symptoms that can last weeks, months or even years after an initial infection. Research suggests that 1 in 5 people between the ages of 18 to 64 has had at least one medical condition following a COVID infection. That increases to 1 in 4 in people 65 and older.

"While for me it feels hard to ask for help and to say I need an accommodation, it is also really empowering to know that I can do great work for my district and great work for the people of Minnesota and I don't have to give up any of my bills," she said. "I can show up in a different way and still be a really strong legislator."