Sen. Lamar Alexander to self-quarantine after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) will self-quarantine after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

David Cleary, Alexander’s chief of staff, said the GOP senator had no symptoms and had tested negative for the coronavirus on Thursday. The staff member, according to Cleary, tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.

“After discussing this with the Senate’s attending physician, Senator Alexander, out of an abundance of caution, has decided not to return to Washington, D.C., and will self-quarantine in Tennessee for 14 days,” he said.

No other staff in Alexander’s office is expected to self-quarantine and most of the GOP senator’s Washington, D.C., staff, like most offices on Capitol Hill, was already working remotely. 
Alexander is the latest senator who has had to self-quarantine after exposure to the virus. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the only senator known to have tested positive but others, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have also self-quarantined in recent months. 
Alexander, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is expected to keep working remotely, including overseeing a hearing scheduled for Tuesday on the virus. 

“The senator will be working remotely and will chair the Senate health committee hearing on Tuesday morning by videoconference where the witnesses will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Brett Giroir, and Dr. Stephen Hahn,” Cleary said.

Fauci, Redfield and Hahn are also expected to testify before the committee remotely due to a White House staffer testing positive for COVID-19.
Alexander, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.), was in the Capitol last week, attending party meetings and wearing a mask, like most senators.
He warned in a statement, and during a private GOP lunch, about the lack of testing for lawmakers if they are not symptomatic, after McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned down the White House’s offer of rapid testing machines.
“We’re doubling the amount of testing up to 2 million a week. There ought to be enough tests to test 535 members of Congress who come to one of the nation’s coronavirus hot spots before they go back home around the country and infect people in their districts,” Alexander said.
He added that, without testing, lawmakers traveling from Washington, D.C., to their home states could “represent sort of a virus-spreading machine.”
Tags Anthony Fauci Lamar Alexander Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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