Sen. Mitt Romney has tested negative for coronavirus, but will remain quarantined for a 14-day period, he announced in a post on Twitter on Tuesday. Senators cannot vote from quarantine under current rules.
"Thankfully I've tested negative for COVID-19," the Utah Republican wrote. "Nevertheless, guidance from my physician, consistent with the CDC guidelines, requires me to remain in quarantine as the test does not rule out the onset of symptoms during the 14-day period."
Romney announced on Sunday that he had entered into self-quarantine after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that he had tested positive. Paul and Romney had been in contact in the days beforehand, Romney's office said. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also said he would enter into quarantine following the release of Paul's test results.
An increasing number of high-profile individuals have come down with the new virus in recent days as the number of confirmed U.S. cases approaches 50,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The virus is not fatal for the vast majority of people but disproportionately affects those who are older or have chronic conditions.
At least two lawmakers in the House of Representatives, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. and Ben McAdams, D-Utah, have tested positive for coronavirus. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have tested negative.
Romney was an early proponent of using direct cash payments to ease the economic pain caused by the unfolding public health crisis. The 2012 Republican nominee for president proposed last week sending every American adult $1,000.
The idea of direct cash payments has since gained steam. Markets soared on Tuesday as Congress neared an agreement on a stimulus deal that is said to include bailouts for hard-hit industries in addition to $2,400 checks for married couples and $500 per child.