Assistant House Speaker self-quarantines out of 'abundance of caution'

Assistant House Speaker self-quarantines out of 'abundance of caution'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the assistant Speaker and fourth-ranking member of House Democratic leadership, announced Monday that he is self-quarantining after interacting with a person who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Luján's office said in a statement that the individual was asymptomatic at the time of the "brief" interaction but later developed symptoms and was diagnosed with the virus.

The statement added that Luján is not showing symptoms and has been advised by health professionals that the probability of infection is low.

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"We did this out of an abundance of caution for public health," a Luján spokeswoman said.

Staff in Luján's offices in Washington and New Mexico also began previously scheduled telework on Monday, along with many other congressional offices.

Luján is the first member of leadership in either the House or Senate to self-quarantine after potential exposure to someone later diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Luján is also running for the Senate.

Several other members of Congress have self-quarantined in recent days, including multiple GOP lawmakers who had contact with an individual at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) who was later diagnosed with the virus.

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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for Iran nuclear projects | Top Dems says State working on new Saudi arms sale | 34-year-old Army reservist ID'd as third military COVID-19 death Trump administration ends waivers in Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran Romney defends Joe Scarborough, staffer's widower: 'Enough already' MORE (R-Texas) was one of the GOP lawmakers who self-quarantined after attending CPAC. Cruz announced late last week that he is extending his self-quarantine after meeting earlier this month with Santiago Abascal, the leader of Spain's far-right Vox Party, who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

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So far, no members of Congress have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.