U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, is in self-quarantine after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the contagious respiratory illness that can be deadly.
The staff member, who has not been publicly identified, tested positive on Sunday, David Cleary, the senator’s chief of staff, said in a statement. The staff member is recovering at home and doing well, the statement said.
Alexander has no symptoms, and he tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, Cleary said.
Alexander discussed the staff member’s diagnosis with the Senate physician and, “out of an abundance of caution,” has decided not to return to Washington, D.C., the statement said. The senator will self-quarantine in Tennessee for 14 days.
“Almost all of the senator’s Washington, D.C., staff are working from home, and there is no need for any other staff member to self-quarantine,” Cleary said.
Alexander will work remotely and will chair a Senate health committee hearing on Tuesday morning by videoconference. The witnesses will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, Dr. Brett Giroir, and Dr. Stephen Hahn. Three of those four—Fauci, Redfield, and Hahn—are self-quarantining after possible exposure to COVID-19. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Redfield is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Hahn is commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Before the news about his staff member, Alexander had announced that all four of the witnesses would appear by videoconference after two of them, Hahn and Redfield, went into self-quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19.
To allow the videoconference, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows approved a one-time exception to the Trump Administration’s policies about hearings.
Tuesday’s hearing is titled “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.” During the hearing, senators can hear from officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.
The hearing starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Senate committee is the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. You can watch the hearing here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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