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How Nonsymptomatic Congress Members Got Virus Tests

How Nonsymptomatic Congress Members Got Virus Tests

By    |   Tuesday, 31 March 2020 06:22 PM

With coronavirus tests in short supply and guidelines recommending they be administered only to those showing symptoms, many are wondering how members of Congress who are asymptomatic have gotten tested.

According to a report in BuzzFeed News, the Office of Attending Physician,which provides medical care to members at the U.S. Capitol, is following official guidelines and says no asymptomatic member of Congress has gotten special treatment.

"The Office of Attending Physician (OAP) follows prevailing medical practice guidelines for testing individuals who may have the coronavirus infection," BuzzFeed quoted the office from an internal website. "At the OAP, individuals considered for testing must exhibit symptoms. They must have no alternative explanation for illness (such as influenza A), and they must have a nexus to risk."

Instead, BuzzFeed reported, members are being tested back in their home districts by private medical facilities who are free to follow — or ignore — the government's guidelines.

At least four Congress members have been able to obtain tests and one, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has tested positive. Sen. Mitt Romney and Reps. John Yarmuth and Matt Gaetz all tested negative.

Paul isn't saying where he obtained his test, but has defended himself, saying that if he had not he would have continued being around fellow senators and others, possibly infecting them. Still, Paul has come under fire for continuing to use the Senate gym and swimming pool while awaiting his test results. He was tested because he is in a high-risk group, having had part of a lung removed following an altercation with a neighbor.

Romney was tested by Intermountain Healthcare in Utah after a recommendation by his doctor. Romney is 73 and had interaction with Paul.

Yarmuth "was tested in Louisville, KY after being informed that he came into close contact with a person who had since tested positive," spokesperson Christopher Schuler told BuzzFeed.

Gaetz was tested at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and got his results from the White House physician's office, BuzzFeed reported. Gaetz said in a tweet, he did not receive special treatment because of his position in Congress.

"I was specifically told by WH medical staff that I was NOT being tested because I am in Congress - but because I had been in close contact with President Trump over several days," Gaetz said. "Of course we have a national interest in keeping the President safe."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has received a test, but told Fox News he received one because he had been experiencing allergy symptoms after attending an event at Mar-a-Lago where others in attendance later tested positive.

Multiple other members of Congress have approached the Office of Attending Physician, but have been turned away because of lack of symptoms.

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According to a report in BuzzFeed News, the Office of Attending Physician, which provides medical care to members at the U.S. Capitol is following official guidelines, so they no asymptomatic member of Congress has gotten special treatment.
coronavirus, congress, tests
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2020-22-31
Tuesday, 31 March 2020 06:22 PM
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