Four GOP lawmakers under self-quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

FILE – This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

(CN) Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz became the fourth Republican lawmaker to self-quarantine Monday amid coronavirus exposure concerns stemming from last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Days after wearing a gas mask on the House Floor during a vote on an $8.3 billion coronavirus response package, Republican Rep. Gaetz announced that he will undergo a 14-day self-quarantine while awaiting test results.

“Congressman Gaetz was informed today that he came into contact with a CPAC attendee 11 days ago who tested positive for COVID-19,” a Gaetz spokesperson tweeted Monday.

Gaetz also traveled with President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One on Monday.

Gaetz’s office says the congressman, who is an outspoken supporter of Trump, is not experiencing any symptoms.

“Congressman Gaetz had expected COVID-19 to impact Congress, given the elevated frequency of travel and human contact, and demonstrated his concern last week on the House floor,” his office added in a tweet.

During a press conference on Monday evening, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters he is unsure whether the president has been tested for COVID-19.

“I honestly don’t know the answer to the question, but we’ll refer that question and we will get you an answer from the White House physician very quickly,” Pence told reporters in response to the question.

Pence said he has not been tested for coronavirus himself.

Republican Representative Doug Collins from Georgia’s 9th Congressional District shook hands with Trump at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta on Friday. On Monday, Collins said he had been informed that during CPAC, which ran Feb. 26-29, he also came in contact with a person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“While I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution,” Collins said in a statement Monday.

Collins said he was contacted by CPAC representatives who alerted him that he appeared in a photograph from the convention shaking hands with the person who later tested positive for COVID-19.

The CDC reported Monday there are 423 cases of COVID-19 across 35 states including the District of Columbia, though the actual figure is believed to be over 650 cases and climbing daily.