These members are self-quarantining after being exposed to coronavirus patients
Lawmakers interacted with people later diagnosed with coronavirus
At least six members of Congress have said they interacted with individuals who tested positive for coronavirus and many have vowed to stay away from Capitol Hill temporarily.
Republican Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida, as well as California Democrat Julia Brownley, announced Monday they were self-quarantining. Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said in separate statements Sunday they would also self-quarantine after interacting with a person who later tested positive for COVID-19.
Gaetz, Collins, Gosar and Cruz said they were exposed to a coronavirus patient at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which typically attracts thousands of conservatives and was held Feb. 26-29 at National Harbor in Maryland.
Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas also interacted with someone at CPAC, but told ABC he wasn't planning to self-quarantine because a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctor told him he wasn't at risk.
Brownley said she came in contact with someone in Washington who reported to health officials they tested positive for COVID-19 and are now self-quarantining.
“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 in a statement.
Collins announced he would remain at home after a photo surfaced of him at CPAC with the patient who tested positive for coronavirus. Gaetz also said he came into contact with the patient at CPAC.
"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.
Gosar said on Twitter that he and three members of his senior staff are “officially under self-quarantine after sustained contact at CPAC” with the individual, who is under the care of medical professionals in New Jersey and has been quarantined.
"I am not currently experiencing any symptoms, nor is any member of my staff. 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," Gosar said.
Gaetz, who made the self-quarantining announcement on Twitter, said he is not experiencing symptoms and he received testing Monday and expects results soon.
White House Pool reports said Gaetz was seen boarding Air Force One in Orlando earlier on Monday.
He's the only member so far who said he has received a coronavirus test.
In addition, the congressman said he is closing his Washington office for the week.
[Staffer email warns against false rumors of coronavirus infections on Capitol Hill]
Cruz, in a statement released earlier Sunday, said he “briefly interacted” with the infected person. “That interaction consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake,” he said.
The senator said he has consulted with medical authorities in Houston and Harris County, Texas, along with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Cruz said he has also talked with Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
Pence and President Donald Trump both attended CPAC did not interact with this person, according to the American Conservative Union, which sponsors the conference. Meadows, who was at CPAC the same day as Cruz, was announced Friday as the new White House chief of staff.
Cruz said that he was staying home out of an abundance of caution until 14 days have passed from his CPAC visit. He said the medical personnel gave no indication that he should self-quarantine.
"I’m not experiencing any symptoms, and I feel fine and healthy," Cruz said. "Given that the interaction was 10 days ago, that the average incubation period is 5-6 days, that the interaction was for less than a minute, and that I have no current symptoms, the medical authorities have advised me that the odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low."