Five members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have placed themselves under self-quarantine after some individuals were possibly exposed to coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Representative Dr. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and Democratic California Congresswoman Julia Brownley have all announced the closure of their Washington offices for the remainder of the week.
Newsweek reached out to the House of Representatives for comment but did not receive a statement in time for publication.
Officials from the American Conservative Union (ACU) which sponsors CPAC said in a Saturday statement that the individual “is under the care of medical professionals in the state of New Jersey, and has been quarantined.”
Although both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were in attendance at CPAC, the ACU said neither of them came into contact with the infected individual.
All senators and representatives who have announced their self-quarantine claim to exhibit no symptoms and are only self-quarantining in the interest of public health.
“The specific recommendations given to each person were based upon their individual risk exposure which was determined through a medically-confidential dialogue between the person and the public health officer,” said a Monday statement from the Office of U.S. Congress Attending Physician Dr. Brian Monahan. “Some of these identified individuals elected to observe a management strategy characterized as ‘an abundance of caution’ and self-imposed a 14 day quarantine period.”
In a statement released Sunday, Cruz encouraged Americans “to treat this outbreak seriously and be driven by facts and medical science. We need to continue to be proactive in mobilizing resources to combat this outbreak—including the $8.3 billion in emergency funding we provided last week—and I encourage everyone to follow the recommendations of the CDC and other health professionals in protecting their own health and welfare, as well as the health and welfare of those around them.”
Gaetz tweeted a picture of himself Wednesday wearing a gas mask before voting on an emergency coronavirus funding bill which allocated $8.3 billion to combat the disease.
“Reviewing the coronavirus supplemental appropriation and preparing to go vote,” Gaetz tweeted.
Representative Gaetz’s office tweeted that his donning of the gas mask “demonstrated his concern” about the spread of the virus.
“Congressman Gaetz had expected COVID-19 to impact Congress, given the elevated frequency of travel and human contact, and demonstrated his concern last week on the House Floor,” the tweet read.
Gaetz traveled with President Donald Trump Monday to Orlando on Air Force 1 approximately an hour before the announcement of Gaetz’s self-quarantine was made.
Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. now number 22, including two deaths in Gaetz’s home state of Florida that were reported Friday. In the U.S., 644 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus have been reported, with 15 of the individuals infected marked as fully recovered.
Globally, 114,223 cases of coronavirus have been reported. While 4,005 individuals have died as a result of the illness, 62,834 have fully recovered.
World Health Organisation advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handlings animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.