As lawmakers on Capitol Hill grapple with how to contain the spread of coronavirus across the United States, seven members of Congress are now taking steps to either self-quarantine or otherwise isolate themselves as a precaution after coming into contact with an infected individual.
Five Republican lawmakers — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, along with Reps. Matt Gaetz, Doug Collins, Paul Gosar and Mark Meadows — are self-quarantining after interacting with an individual at the Conservative Political Action Conference who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Two Democrats are also taking precautionary measures. California Rep. Julia Brownley announced on Monday that she and her staff are now working remotely after finding out that she recently came into contact with someone who tested positive. On Tuesday, Virginia Rep. Don Beyer announced that he will self-quarantine after learning that a friend he interacted with recently tested positive.
Here are those lawmakers:
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced on Sunday that he had been notified that he was in contact with an individual at CPAC who tested positive and is showing symptoms. In a statement, Cruz said that “the interaction consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake.”
Cruz said that he is “not experiencing any symptoms, and I feel fine and healthy,” and that “medical authorities have advised me that the odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low.”
But despite that, the senator said that “out of an abundance of caution,” he has “decided to remain at my home in Texas this week until a full 14 days have passed since the CPAC interaction.”
A message posted to Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s Twitter account on Monday stated that the congressman found out on Monday that he came into contact with an individual at CPAC who had tested positive.
“While the congressman is not experiencing symptoms, he received testing today and expects the results soon,” the message stated, going on to say, “Under doctor’s usual precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain self-quarantined until the 14-day period expires this week.”
Gaetz announced on Tuesday that his test results came back negative, but said he would remain in self-quarantine until Thursday “in an abundance of caution.”
“I’ve just been informed that my COVID-19 lab result was negative. In an abundance of caution, I will remain under self-quarantine at the advice of medical professionals through Thursday at 2pm. I continue to feel fine and show no symptoms,” he tweeted.
Gaetz rode on Air Force Once with President Donald Trump on Monday and spent the weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property.
He also made headlines last week when he wore a gas mask onto the House floor while lawmakers voted to approve emergency funding to combat coronavirus.
Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia announced on Monday that CPAC contacted him to tell him that a photo of him and the conference attendee who tested positive had been found, indicating they interacted.
“While I feel completely healthy and I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine at my home for the remainder of the 14-day period out of an abundance of caution,” Collins said in a statement.
Like Gaetz, Collins also had recent interactions with the President. Collins shook hands with Trump when the President visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta last week.
Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona put out a statement on Sunday saying that he was similarly notified that during CPAC he was in contact with an individual who had tested positive.
The congressman said that he shook hands with the individual “several times” and was with the person “for an extended period of time.”
Gosar said that he is “not currently experiencing any symptoms,” but “in order to prevent any potential transmission, I will remain at my home in Arizona until the conclusion of the 14 day period following my interaction with this individual.”
Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley of California put out a statement on Monday saying that she has been informed that “an individual I met with last week in DC tested positive for COVID-19.”
“I have decided to close our DC office for the week,” the congresswoman said, adding, “My staff and I are working remotely.”
“Out of an abundance of absolute caution, my DC staff and I are self-monitoring and maintaining social distancing practices. Neither I, nor my staff, are experiencing any symptoms at this time,” Brownley said.
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina opted to self-quarantine after learning this weekend that he might have interacted with the CPAC attendee who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to his chief of staff Ben Williamson.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Meadows received testing which came back negative,” Williamson said in statement. “While he’s experiencing zero symptoms, under doctors’ standard precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain at home until the 14 day period expires this Wednesday.”
An official told CNN that Meadows — Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff — was not scheduled to start his new job this week.
Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia said in a statement on Tuesday that he will self-quarantine after having dinner with an individual who later tested positive for coronavirus.
“This afternoon my wife Megan and I were contacted by the Virginia Department of Health to share details with us about the illness of a friend who tested positive for COVID-19 after dining with us. They informed us that the timeline of his infection began shortly after our contact on February 28,” Beyer said.
He went on to say, “At the request of the public health officials, I will self-quarantine to ensure that I do not pass on any potential illness to others. In the 10 days since that dinner neither of us has shown symptoms, and we understand that the probability that we have an infection is low.”
“My office will close for public business and I will not attend votes or hearings until Monday, when medical advisers say I should be clear to return,” Beyer added.
Beyer has been on Capitol Hill this week, meeting with members and interacting with reporters.