Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has tested positive for a breakthrough coronavirus case, his office announced Tuesday. 

“Senator Warner has tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19. He is glad that he has been vaccinated and boosted, and at this time his symptoms are extremely mild,” Rachel Cohen, Warner’s communications director, said in a statement. 

“Senator Warner will be working from home in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Office of the Attending Physician for the duration of his isolation period,” she added. 

Warner is the latest lawmaker to test positive for a breakthrough case of the coronavirus. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have all contracted COVID-19 in recent weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while breakthrough cases are “expected,” they typically cause less severe illness compared to infections among unvaccinated individuals. 

The Capitol physician Brian Monahan disclosed earlier this month that the seven-day average positivity rate in the U.S. Capitol had increased from less than 1 percent to more than 13 percent. The majority of cases have been detected in vaccinated individuals. 

Monahan has also urged lawmakers and staff to wear KN95 or N95 masks while in the Capitol, in response to the highly transmissible omicron variant. While the House has rules on wearing masks while in the chamber, the Senate does not, and most GOP senators do not routinely wear masks around the complex.  

Warner’s announcement comes as the Senate is in the middle of a one-week recess, with senators not expected back in Washington, D.C., until Monday. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has teed up roughly 20 nominations for floor votes once they return. President Biden’s picks will need support from a simple majority to be confirmed. 

Democrats are also expected to try to revive talks on the Build Back Better legislation, Biden’s sweeping climate and social spending bill.