Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has become the first senator to test positive for the coronavirus. His staff says he is asymptomatic.
In a statement released on Sunday, Paul’s deputy chief of staff, Sergio Gor, wrote:
“Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and 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. 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. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Paul.”
Paul, a physician, was one of eight Republican senators who voted against a coronavirus relief package last week, after the Senate opposed his efforts to offset spending on the legislation.
His positive test comes amid continuing shortages of available tests nationwide. As NPR’s Vanessa Romo reported on Saturday:
State and local government leaders have been putting pressure on the Trump administration and the coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence to address widespread testing shortages. In response, the administration has turned to the private sector to help develop tests, vaccines and therapeutic medicines to help stem the pandemic.