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Alexander in self-quarantine after staffer tests positive

Associated Press • May 12, 2020 at 1:15 AM

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lamar Alexander didn’t return to Washington this week because he is self-quarantining in his home state of Tennessee after a member of his staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Republican senator is working remotely and will chair the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Tuesday morning by videoconference.

Witnesses will be Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, considered the government's leading authority on infectious diseases; FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn; Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus “testing czar” at the Department of Health and Human Services. All will appear via video link.

Fauci, Redfield and Hahn have also self-quarantined after exposure to an infected staffer.

“One thing it tells you is that the virus can have an impact in any workplace setting or any community setting," said John Auerbach, president of the nonprofit public health group Trust for America's Health. “All businesses will find it very challenging to ensure safety when there are cases."

Auerbach noted that the public officials involved are taking the virus seriously by not appearing in person.

“They are following the guidelines that they are recommending to others," he said. “There is not a double standard.”

Cleary said the Alexander staff member tested positive Sunday, adding that the staffer was home recovering and doing well. Alexander consulted with his physician and decided not to go back to Washington. He is to self-quarantine for 14 days “out of an abundance of caution.”

Cleary said almost all of the senator’s Washington staff are working from home, and there is no need for any other staff member to self-quarantine.

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