Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he announced Sunday. He has been asymptomatic and tested “due to his extensive travel and events.”

His positive test result prompted two other senators, Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), to self-quarantine since they came in close contact with Paul.

Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Rick Scott (R-Florida) are also self-quarantining because they each were potentially exposed to the virus in separate instances.

That means Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is missing five GOP senators from the floor, just as he is working to push through an economic relief bill.

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“I don’t believe it changes our posture,” Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) told reporters Sunday. “I think individual members will know if they’ve had much contact with him in the last week or not.”

Paul was criticized for not quarantining sooner, but noted that he would not have qualified for COVID-19 testing given “the current guidelines.”

“I felt that it was highly unlikely that I was positive since I have had no symptoms of the illness, nor have I had contact with anyone who has either tested positive for the virus or been sick,” he said after he was criticized for having gone to the gym the same day he received his test results.

“For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a tee, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol,” Paul said in a statement. “The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined. It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested.”


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