GOP Lawmakers Self-Quarantine After Shaking Hands With Coronavirus Patient At CPAC

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) walks to a vote before attending the weekly Republican policy luncheon on September 24, 2019. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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March 9, 2020 8:05 a.m.
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) announced on Sunday and Monday that they were self-quarantining after shaking hands with someone at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) less than two weeks ago who later tested positive for coronavirus.

“This afternoon, I was notified by CPAC that they discovered a photo of myself and the patient who has tested positive for coronavirus,” Collins said in a statement on Monday afternoon. “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.”

Later Monday, Gaetz announced that he also came in contact with the CPAC attendee who later tested positive.

Recently, Gaetz appeared on the House floor wearing a gas mask, garnering criticism that he was making light of an unfolding public health crisis.

Cruz and Gosar had announced their quarantines the day prior.

“Last night, I was informed that 10 days ago at CPAC I briefly interacted with an individual who is currently symptomatic and has tested positive for COVID-19,” Cruz said in a statement on Sunday. “That interaction consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake.”

Stating that he was not experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, Cruz explained that medical professionals had told him that the chances of him passing on the illness was “extremely low” and that the GOP senator’s “brief interaction” with the person “does not meet the CDC criteria for self-quarantine.”

“Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, and because of how frequently I interact with my constituents as a part of my job and to give everyone peace of mind, I have decided to remain at my home in Texas this week, until a full 14 days have passed since the CPAC interaction,” he said.

Gosar released a similar statement on the same day, saying that he had spent “an extended period of time” and shaken hands with a person at CPAC who has since been hospitalized for the coronavirus.

Like Cruz, Gosar said he was not feeling any symptoms of the disease.

“However, 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,” the Republican congressman said. “Additionally, out of an abundance of caution, I am closing my office in Washington, D.C. for the week and my team will follow the previously approved Tele-commute plan.”

There are now over 540 cases of the disease across 34 states and D.C., and at least 22 people have died, per the New York Times.

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