Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tests negative for coronavirus; continues self-quarantine

Mitt Romney. File photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

UTAH, March 24, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Senator Mitt Romney has tested negative for COVID-19 but will continue to self-quarantine after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. on Sunday became the first U.S. senator known to test positive for the virus.

“Thankfully I’ve tested negative for COVID-19,” said a tweet from Romney Tuesday afternoon. “Nevertheless, guidance from my physician, consistent with the CDC guidelines, requires me to remain in quarantine as the test does not rule out the onset of symptoms during the 14-day period.”

Romney’s office issued the following statement Sunday: “Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with CDC guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor. He has no symptoms but will be tested. He urges members to pass a relief package as quickly as possible that provides assistance for families, workers, and small businesses.”

Utah Senator Mike Lee is also in self-quarantine.

A Facebook post from Lee Sunday afternoon reads: “Upon learning that my colleague Sen. Paul tested positive for COVID-19, I consulted the attending physician of the U.S. Congress Dr. Harding. He advised me that because I have no symptoms or other risk factors, a COVID-19 test was not warranted. However, given the timing, proximity, and duration of my exposure to Sen. Paul, he directed me to self-quarantine for 14 days. That means no traveling or voting. But I will continue to make sure Utah’s voice is heard as we shape the federal response to the coronavirus through phone, text, email and whatever other means are available.”

Lee has not said whether he has tested negative for the virus.

A statement from Paul Sunday afternoon reads in part:

“Given that my wife and I had traveled extensively during the weeks prior to COVID-19 social distancing practices, and that I am at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus due to having part of my lung removed seven months ago, I took a COVID-19 test when I arrived in D.C. last Monday. I felt that it was highly unlikely that I was positive since I have had no symptoms of the illness, nor have I had contact with anyone who has either tested positive for the virus or been sick.

“Since nearly every member of the U.S. Senate travels by plane across the country multiple times per week and attends lots of large gatherings, I believed my risk factor for exposure to the virus to be similar to that of my colleagues, especially since multiple congressional staffers on the Hill had already tested positive weeks ago.”

The statement adds: “I believe we need more testing immediately, even among those without symptoms. The nature of COVID-19 put me– and us all– in a Catch-22 situation. I didn’t fit the criteria for testing or quarantine. I had no symptoms and no specific encounter with a COVID-19 positive person. I had, however, traveled extensively in the U.S. and was required to continue doing so to vote in the Senate. That, together with the fact that I have a compromised lung, led me to seek testing. Despite my positive test result, I remain asymptomatic for COVID-19.

For the rest of Paul’s statement click here.

Paul is the third member of Congress to announce a positive test for coronavirus, following Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah.


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