Republican South Dakota Sen. John Thune on Sunday said that anyone who was in contact with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who tested positive for coronavirus, should immediately contact their health providers, as the disease continues to spread through Congress.
Thune told reporters that senators will “consult with the attending physician about appropriate measures for those who have been in contact with the senator.”
Paul tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced Sunday afternoon. He is the first known United States senator to test positive. Paul notably had part of his lung removed in the fall of 2019. The surgery followed an altercation with his Kentucky neighbor back in 2017. He suffered pneumonia as a result of the incident.
Paul had been in close quarters with other Senate Republicans this past week while negotiating the third phase of the White House’s coronavirus stimulus plan.
I took a picture inside the Senate GOP lunch when the door was open Friday and saw Rand Paul seated next to other senators. He is visible in this photo. pic.twitter.com/4qwZo5YdBs
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 22, 2020
“He is feeling fine and is in quarantine,” his official account tweeted. “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.” (RELATED: Trump Gives Ford, General Motors, Tesla ‘The Go Ahead’ To Mass Produce Coronavirus Ventilators)
Paul’s office “began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact” with the senator, Paul’s communications director Sergio Gor told the Daily Caller. Gor said the senator is expected to return to the Senate after his quarantine period is over and will “continue working for the people of Kentucky.”
Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on Thursday introduced a resolution that would allow senators to vote remotely during national emergencies. (RELATED: Portman, Durbin Introduce Resolution To Allow Remote Voting For Senators During National Emergencies)
The two senators introduced the bipartisan resolution “to Maintain Senate’s Constitutional Responsibilities & Allow Remote Voting During National Emergencies” which would allow senators to vote remotely, as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said she will halt negotiations with the Senate and move to pass her own coronavirus package in the House, which could drag things out longer than many expected.