Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Sunday, making him the first U.S. senator to contract the deadly respiratory illness that continues to spread across the country.
The Kentucky Republican has no symptoms but “was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person,” read a statement from Paul’s Twitter account.
“He is feeling fine and is in quarantine,” his office said. “He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time.”
The statement added that the senator’s D.C. office began operating remotely ten days ago, so “virtually no staff” has had contact with the senator, which could put them in danger of infection.
Earlier this month, Paul was the only senator to vote against a bipartisan $8 billion emergency coronavirus funding package that provided free coronavirus testing, paid leave for affected workers, enhanced unemployment insurance, increased food aid, and increased Medicaid funding for states. He demanded a vote on an amendment that would “provide the President the authority to transfer funds as necessary,” proposing cuts in other areas in order to offset some of the costs of the coronavirus funding.
Two other members of Congress, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, and Representative Ben McAdams, a Utah Democrat, have also tested positive for the virus and have both self-quarantined.