Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Paul Gosar to Self-Quarantine After Shaking Hands With Coronavirus-Infected Individual at CPAC

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Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona announced Sunday they will self-quarantine for 14 days after being informed they had both briefly interacted with an individual, who tested positive for the coronavirus, at CPAC.

The person “is currently symptomatic and has tested positive for COVID-19,” Cruz said in a statement. “That interaction consisted of a brief conversation and handshake.”

“I’m not experiencing any symptoms, and I feel fine and healthy,” the senator explained. “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.”

Cruz says that medical authorities have “explicitly” advised him that anyone who has interacted with him since CPAC “should not be concerned about potential transmission,” but noted he will quarantine himself for the full 14 days in his Texas home “out of an abundance of caution.”

Before arriving at his decision, Cruz said he consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Houston health officials, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressman Mark Meadows.

Newsweek reached out to Cruz’s office for additional information.

Gosar released a similar statement hours after Cruz on Sunday. “I was with the individual for an extended period of time, and we shook hands several times,” he said. “I am not currently experiencing any symptoms, nor is any member of my staff.”

The Republican congressman said he will “remain at my house in Arizona” for the 14-day quarantine period. “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,” he added.

The individual Cruz had come into contact with at CPAC was recently tested positive at a hospital in New Jersey, before beginning quarantine in that state, according to the American Conservative Union (ACU) on Saturday. The attendee was reportedly infected with coronavirus before attending CPAC over a week ago.

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Meadows, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were among the many high-profile individuals who attended the event.

In a statement on Saturday, the ACU confirmed that the attendee who later tested positive for coronavirus “had no interaction” with Trump or Pence and “never attended the events in the main hall.”

“The Trump administration is aware of the situation, and we will continue regular communication with all appropriate government officials,” the statement added.

ACU chairman Matt Schlapp later told The Washington Post that he had shaken hands with the president at CPAC after interacting with the infected individual earlier in the day.

As of Saturday, more than 400 cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed in the U.S. and over a dozen people have died from the disease. The national death toll rose to 19 on Saturday after Washington state announced two more deaths due to the virus.

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump, on January 31, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty

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