Meadows self-quarantines after possible exposure to coronavirus patient
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who President Trump last week selected as his next acting chief of staff, will self-quarantine at his home after learning that he may have come into contact with a person who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office said.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Meadows received testing which came back negative,” Meadows spokesman Ben Williamson said. “While he’s experiencing zero symptoms, under doctors’ standard precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain at home until the 14 day period expires this Wednesday.”
Meadows is one of several GOP lawmakers who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland last month to announce that they’ve gone under a self-quarantine.
Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have said they were in contact with the individual at the convention who later tested positive for the virus. In response to health officials’ recommendations, they’ve all said they will stay home until 14 days had passed between their encounters.
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) also said Monday that she and her staff would work remotely after learning that she had interacted with a person in Washington, D.C., who tested positive for the virus.
The American Conservative Union (ACU) first disclosed on Saturday that a CPAC attendee had tested positive for COVID-19 at a New Jersey hospital shortly after attending the convention. The patient had been exposed to the virus before attending the convention and is now under quarantine in the hospital, ACU said.
Cruz and Gosar said in separate statements on Sunday that they had interacted with the individual and shook his hand. Gosar said that he and three members of his staff were with the individual “for an extended period of time,” adding that they “shook hands several times.”
Gaetz and Collins confirmed earlier Monday that they had come into contact with the CPAC attendee. All of the lawmakers have noted that they have not experienced any virus symptoms, but that they were going under self-quarantine as a precaution.
Collins and Gaetz were in contact with Trump and other administration officials before being notified. Collins visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta with Trump and other officials on Friday. Gaetz traveled on Air Force One with Trump on Monday, and reportedly quarantined himself on the flight after learning he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
Trump and Pence attended CPAC, though they did not come in direct contact with the attendee who later tested positive for coronavirus. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said late Monday that Trump had not been tested for the coronavirus “because he has neither had prolonged close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients, nor does he have any symptoms.”
Trump has been in contact with at least three people who went into a self-quarantine after interacting with the CPAC attendee. The president shook ACU chairman Matt Schlapp’s hand at the conference. Schlapp said that he shook hands with the infected individual days earlier.
The president abruptly announced last week that Meadows would become his fourth chief of staff and that Mick Mulvaney would move into the role of U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland. The North Carolina congressman is expected to work with Mulvaney to ensure a “smooth transition in the coming weeks,” the White House said.
Meadows is set to come into the role as confirmed cases of the coronavirus continue to rapidly climb throughout the world, causing stocks to plunge and governments to enforce strict measures designed to curb an outbreak. Trump announced on Monday night that he would ask Congress to approve a payroll tax cut and relief for hourly workers in an effort to combat the economic fallout from the disease.
The proposal came the same day that Trump downplayed the seriousness of the virus, while also contradicting health officials and comparing it to the flu.
Updated at 10:56 p.m.