New Jersey Democrat thinks she contracted coronavirus during Capitol siege
A Democratic congresswoman said Monday she has tested positive for COVID-19 after being locked in a room with maskless members of Congress during the riots at the Capitol last week.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) said she believes she was exposed to COVID-19 while being held in protective isolation with other lawmakers, including some who did not wear masks.
“I received a positive test result for COVID-19, and am home resting at this time. While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents,” she said in a statement.
The congresswoman tested positive using a rapid antigen test. She is awaiting the results of a more reliable PCR test.
Watson Coleman is 75 and a cancer survivor, putting her at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
Congress’s attending physician warned lawmakers in an email Sunday they might have been exposed to COVID-19 during protective isolation, though it cannot be said for certain that Watson Coleman contracted the coronavirus while sheltering during the Capitol riots.
“On Wednesday January 6, many members of the House community were in protective isolation in room located in a large committee hearing space,” Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, wrote in an email, according to the Washington Post.
“The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others. During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”
Monahan advised lawmakers to get tested this week “as a precaution.”
Video of an isolation room obtained by Punchbowl News showed Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Michael Cloud (Texas), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.) and Scott Perry (Pa.) not wearing masks and declining masks offered by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.)
“While I was disappointed in my colleagues who refused to wear a mask, I was encouraged by those who did,” Blunt Rochester tweeted Friday.
“My goal, in the midst of what I feared was a super spread event, was to make the room at least a little safer.”
While I was disappointed in my colleagues who refused to wear a mask, I was encouraged by those who did. My goal, in the midst of what I feared was a super spreader event, was to make the room at least a little safer. https://t.co/HpEZdUzHbd
— Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (@RepLBR) January 8, 2021