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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

California congressman says he got coronavirus after Sen. Mike Lee interaction

OAKLAND — Rep. Salud Carbajal announced Tuesday he tested positive for the coronavirus and said it came after he interacted indoors with Sen. Mike Lee, who revealed he had Covid-19 hours after President Donald Trump said he was diagnosed with the disease.

Carbajal, a Central Coast Democrat, said in a statement that he began to experience "mild symptoms" and subsequently tested positive after being exposed to someone with the virus.

His office later told POLITICO that Carbajal had interacted indoors in Washington with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who announced his positive diagnosis Friday — hours after Trump's Covid-19 announcement. Since then, Lee's appearance at a Rose Garden event to formally announce the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett has been widely scrutinized, including video footage of Lee hugging attendees without a mask.

Asked about Carbajal's account, Lee's office said the senator did not interact with Carbajal in-person after he tested positive. The two lawmakers live in the same building.

"Sen. Lee says he told everyone in the building he tested positive as soon as he got his test back and has not talked to Rep. Carbajal except by phone since then," said Conn Carroll, a Lee spokesperson.

Carroll did not say whether Lee and Carbajal had an in-person interaction prior to the senator's positive test result.

The coronavirus outbreak has rippled through the White House and President Donald Trump's orbit since the president announced last week he tested positive.

Carbajal's office said that he interacted with Lee while wearing a mask. He is the first California congressmember with a known case of the coronavirus.

Carbajal, 55, said he would continue to work remotely and noted that "the vast majority" of his staff was at minimal risk for infection because they had not been in contact with him. Other staffers are getting tested, he said.

“I hope this serves a reminder of how easily this virus can spread," Carbajal said in a statement. "I followed every precaution, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand-washing and unfortunately was still exposed. It is incumbent on every single one of us to take careful precautions in order to protect the health and safety of those around us."

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