Two members of Congress, Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Paul Gosar, said on Sunday that they are isolating themselves after establishing that they had contacts in a political conference with a man who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Cruz, R-Texas, said he had brief contact with the man at the Conservative Political Action Conference nearly two weeks ago and that he would spend the next few days at his home in Texas until 14 days had passed since their interaction.
Gosar, R-Ariz., Claimed to have had contact with the CPAC man and that he and three members of his senior staff were in quarantine. His office will be closed for the week, Gosar said in a tweet.
In addition to Cruz and Gosar, the CPAC program listed three other senators and 12 members of the House who were to speak. Among these, the leader of the GOP n. 2 of the Steve Scalise House of Louisiana, the Republican leader n. 3 Liz Cheney of Wyoming and North Carolina MP Mark Meadows, who has since become White House chief of staff. Also scheduled is Transport Secretary Elaine Chao, wife of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke to CPAC, but the White House said there was no indication that they had met or were “close” to the infected participant.
Meanwhile, Maryland reported two new cases on Sunday, increasing the total confirmed cases in the state to five. Virginia reported her second case.
In a separate case of coronavirus, an important episcopal church in Washington, D.C. suspended all activities after announcing that one of its senior executives was the first person in the nation’s capital to test the virus positively.
Rev. Timothy Cole, the rector of Christ Church Georgetown, was in stable condition after being hospitalized on Saturday night, according to a statement by Rev. Crystal Hardin, the assistant rector.
In an unrelated case, Cruz said he met the man being treated for coronavirus 10 days ago at the CPAC on the outskirts of Oxon Hill, Maryland. The Texas Republican said he had no symptoms, felt good and was informed by medical authorities that the odds of transmission were extremely low.
However, Cruz said, out of an abundance of caution he will stay at home in Texas for a few more days until 14 days have passed since the interaction. He said medical authorities have informed him that those who have interacted with him in the past 10 days should not worry about the potential transmission.
David Popp, Senate Majority Leader spokesman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said Sunday evening that no changes had been made to the chamber program following Cruz’s decision to stay in Texas. McConnell talked to Cruz, said Popp.
The Senate has a vote scheduled for Monday evening and plans to be in session this week considering energy and perhaps other regulations. The Senate and the Chamber are scheduled for a one-week break on the week of March 16th.
According to the Christ Church Georgetown website, Cole has been rector since September 2016, is married and has two children.
“Because of the abundance of caution, Christ Church has canceled all activities, including church services, until further notice. We recommend that interested community members contact their health care providers,” says the note.
Officials announced the district’s first positive test on Saturday, but identified the victim only as a man in his fifties. A second local positive test involves a man who visited the Washington area from Nigeria, but was hospitalized in Maryland, said Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Health officials said Sunday that they had determined, as part of their investigation, that “an individual’s visit to Christ Church Georgetown requires precautionary measures” and recommended that the services be temporarily stopped. In response, the church publicly identified Cole as a victim.
The mayor’s office in Washington said that a city high school will be closed on Monday, although no new confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported. Three people who stayed in the same house as the Nigerian man who tested positive in Maryland were tested on Sunday and all were negative. But one of them works at School Without Walls High School, which is kept closed to give staff time to communicate with staff and parents and to clean the school.
In Maryland, a Harford County resident in her 70s who contracted the virus on a trip abroad was hospitalized, officials said. A 60-year-old young man residing in Montgomery County who contracted the virus while traveling abroad was briefly hospitalized.
Virginia filed her first case on Saturday when a Marine stationed in Fort Belvoir and living at the Quantico base found out she had the virus. On Sunday, Virginia officials announced a second case involving a Fairfax 80 man who went on a Nile cruise.
Dr Benjamin Schwartz, director of epidemiology and population health for the Fairfax county health department, said the Fairfax man developed respiratory disease systems on February 28 and was hospitalized on March 5. He remains hospitalized but is in stable condition and not in an intensive care unit, Schwartz said.
“Fortunately, the individual had limited contact with others while he was ill, and therefore the risk for the general Fairfax community remains low,” said county health director, Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensa.
The epidemiologist of the state of Virginia, dr. Lilian Peake said tests for the Fort Belvoir case were conducted at the Walter Reed medical center and tests for the Fairfax resident were conducted in a state laboratory in Richmond.
“The two cases are unrelated,” said Peake. “At this point, there are no signs of spreading the virus in the community in Virginia.”
Authors of the Associated Press Randall Chase in Dover, Delaware and Alan Fram and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.