March 8 (UPI) — Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar announced on Sunday that they have quarantined themselves after coming into contact with a guest who tested positive for COVID-19 at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
Cruz, the Republican senator for Texas, said in a statement that he is not experiencing symptoms and feels healthy, but “out of an abundance of caution” will quarantine himself at his Texas home for the remainder of the coronavirus’ 14-incubation period from when he interacted with the now-symptomatic guest at the conservative conference that ran from Feb. 26 to 29.
Cruz said the interaction with the conference guest lasted less than a minute about 10 days ago and consisted of “a brief conversation and a handshake.”
Gosar, the Republican congressman for Arizona, said in a separate statement that followed Cruz’s that he and his staff had come into contact with a guest who has since been hospitalized with COVID-19. It is unclear if Gosar and Cruz were referring to the same unnamed conference attendee.
“I was with the individual for an extended period of time and we shook hands several times,” Gosar said, adding neither he nor any of his staff is experiencing symptoms. “However, in order to prevent any potential transmission, I will remain at my home in Arizona until the conclusion of the 14-day period following my interaction with this individual.”
He also said his office in Washington, D.C., will be closed for the week “out of an abundance of caution” and his staff will be telecommuting instead.
The announcement came a day after the American Conservative Union, which hosted the conference, announced a CPAC attendee had tested positive Saturday for COVID-19 and had contracted the virus prior to attending the conference held in Maryland.
In a statement on Sunday, ACU said the Maryland Department of Health has screened thousands of employees at the resort, conference center and hotel where the conference was held and “not a single person has reported any unusual illness.”
“The Dept. of Health is not restricting the movement or interactions with others of those hotel employees,” it said in a statement, adding it is encouraging them to take their temperature twice daily and pay attention for symptoms.
The ACU said the infected attendee was receiving medical care in New Jersey and was quarantined.
On Saturday, Trump told reporters that campaign rallies will continue despite growing fears of the virus spreading among large gatherings.
Asked if he is worried about the coronavirus getting near the White House, Trump said, “I’m not concerned.”
News of the CPAC infection came days after the American Israel Public Affairs Committee announced attendees to its policy conference last week may have come into contact with a person infected with the virus.
CPAC is the largest and “most influential” conservative gathering, attracting thousands of guests a year, it said on its website.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began in China in December, there have been more than 3,800 deaths and 110,000 cases worldwide, including 21 fatalities in the United States and more than 500 cases of the disease.