“He is feeling fine and is in quarantine,” his office said. “He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.”
But Paul has been at the Capitol through the weekend, and later on Sunday some of his colleagues said that they have decided to self-quarantine and will get tested as a precaution. They include Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and they join Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) who already had been self-isolation after possible coronavirus exposure.
Paul is the first senator to test positive for the coronavirus. Two House members, Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, and Ben McAdams, a Utah Democrat, announced last week that they have tested positive, while other representatives are in self-quarantine.
Paul’s office said that he expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends. The office began operating remotely ten days ago, “hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senate Rand Paul.”
But the senator has been on Capitol Hill in recent days, as lawmakers hash out a massive coronavirus relief package. It’s unclear whether other senators he was in contact with will get tested or if they will self quarantine. “All the senators are going to seek medical advice as to what action we should take to make sure we don’t in any way spread this virus as well,” Romney told reporters earlier on Sunday. “We were in a lunch together with Rand and hope he is doing really well, but we have to determine whether any of us should self-quarantine as a result of being in the same room.”
CNN, Politico and other news outlets reported that Paul was using the Senate gym on Sunday morning and was using the pool, and had been at a Senate GOP lunch.
Senate Majority Leader was to have scheduled a procedural vote on the relief package — which could reach as high at $1.7 trillion — but delayed the vote until Sunday evening after Democrats raised objections over some of its provisions. Among their concerns is that the bill puts too much authority in the hands of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who would be tasked with deciding on which businesses are eligible to receive bailout loans.
With five Senate Republicans now unable to vote, the GOP has a 48-47 majority for the vote on the massive stimulus bill.