Sen. Chuck Grassley won't seek coronavirus test after attending meeting with infected senator
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley will not be tested for the coronavirus, despite attending a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting with a fellow senator who later tested positive for the virus, the Iowa senator's staff said Friday.
"Sen. Grassley’s doctors have not recommended he be tested as he has not come into close contact with anyone suspected of having or confirmed to have coronavirus," Grassley's spokesman, Michael Zona, said in a statement.
Grassley attended a meeting Thursday with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah who later tested positive for the virus.
Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people should be tested if they have been within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. Zona said the senators maintained an appropriate social distance that exceeded those guidelines.
"Each chair is separated by (six) feet and they were not seated next to each other," he said.
Lee announced on Twitter Friday morning that he had been experiencing "symptoms consistent with longtime allergies" on Thursday and sought a coronavirus test. He also attended a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
"Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday's test came back positive," he wrote on Twitter. "On advice of the Senate attending physician, I will remain isolated for the next 10 days."
Zona said Grassley, who is 87 and third in line to the presidency, "will continue to follow guidance from the Senate’s attending physician, the CDC and Iowa’s health officials."
Iowa's U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst also sits on the Judiciary Committee and attended the meeting.
"Senator Ernst continues to follow the advice of the Senate physician, wear a mask and adhere to public health guidelines," her spokesperson, Kelsi Daniell, said in a statement. "And out of an abundance of caution, Senator Ernst was tested for COVID-19 today and it was negative."
President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. One of his advisors, Hope Hicks, also has tested positive, as has Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Vice President Mike Pence, who was in Carter Lake and Des Moines on Thursday, said he has tested negative.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who appeared on a debate stage with the president earlier this week, also has tested negative.
Brianne Pfannenstiel is the chief politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.
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