Paul defends actions before coronavirus diagnosis, calls for more testing

 

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcConnell: Impeachment distracted government from coronavirus threat Warren knocks McConnell for forcing in-person Senate vote amid coronavirus pandemic House chairwoman diagnosed with 'presumed' coronavirus infection MORE (R-Ky.), who on Sunday became the first senator diagnosed with coronavirus, is defending his actions while awaiting his results while calling for more testing for the deadly disease.

“For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a tee, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol,” Paul said in a statement on Monday.

“The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined," he added. "It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested.”

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The senator, who had part of his lung removed in August 2019 as a result of injuries after he was assaulted by a neighbor in 2017, has said he was asymptomatic at the time of his testing.

“The broader the testing and the less finger-pointing we have, the better,” Paul said in Monday's statement. “America is strong. We are a resilient people, but we’re stronger when we stand together.”

The Kentucky Republican said he believed himself to be at a similar risk for the virus as his colleagues due to multiple confirmed cases among Hill staffers and House members. He added that his case illustrates the need for an expanded testing regimen.

“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,” he said.  “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.”

Paul sparked criticism with his use of Senate facilities while awaiting his test results. His colleague, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), called it “absolutely irresponsible” and bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel said it was a violation of the ophthalmologist’s oath as a physician.

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Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Trump on Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'I am so happy I can barely speak' Romney says he tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in quarantine MORE (R-Utah) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGranting cash payments is a conservative principle 7 things to know about the coronavirus stimulus package Scarborough rips Trump for mocking Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'Could have been a death sentence' MORE (R-Utah) have entered quarantine due to their contact with Paul.

--This report was updated at 1:28 p.m.