"I felt that it was highly unlikely that I was positive since I have had no symptoms of the illness, nor have I had contact with anyone who has either tested positive for the virus or been sick," Paul explained

By Sean Neumann
March 24, 2020 01:54 PM
MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In the six days while he awaited the results of his coronavirus test, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul reportedly continued to show up for work on Capitol Hill, attend lunches with Senate colleagues and swim in a communal pool in the building.

Following the confirmation Sunday that the Republican lawmaker had tested positive, however, some of his co-workers are chastising him for not taking more precaution with the highly infectious respiratory virus.

“This, America, is absolutely irresponsible,” Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema, a Democrat, tweeted Sunday. “You cannot be near other people while waiting for coronavirus test results. It endangers others & likely increases the spread of the virus.”

“I couldn’t agree more @kyrstensinema,” wrote Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican also of Arizona. She retweeted Sinema’s comments.

“As we ask all Americans to sacrifice their livelihoods and alter their behavior to save lives, we must ourselves model appropriate #coronavirus behavior,” McSally wrote. “No one is too important to disregard guidance to self-quarantine pending test results.”

RELATED: Political Figures Who’ve Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Paul, 57, said Sunday that he immediately left the Capitol after he learned of his coronavirus test results that morning, though a number of his colleagues said he should’ve been working from home in self-isolation until his results.

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee both went into voluntary quarantine after the news broke that Paul had tested positive for the virus, which has infected more than 43,000 Americans as of Tuesday morning and killed 539, according to a New York Times tracker.

“I felt that it was highly unlikely that I was positive since I have had no symptoms of the illness, nor have I had contact with anyone who has either tested positive for the virus or been sick,” Paul said in a further statement on Monday.

“For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a tee, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol,” he continued. “The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined. It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

RELATED: Senator Rand Paul, Who Delayed Then Voted Against Pandemic Aid, Tests Positive for Coronavirus

“(Paul) is feeling fine and is in quarantine,” his office tweeted Sunday. “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.”

Paul joins Reps. Ben McAdams and Mario Diaz-Balart, who also tested positive for the virus which has infected various political figures among hundreds of thousands of others worldwide.

Paul said he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms and took the test in mid-March out of an abundance of caution for having previously injured his lung during an assault by a neighbor in 2017 over a landscaping issue.

U.S. health officials have said that those not exhibiting symptoms shouldn’t get the test.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were among the lawmakers who have been tested for the virus after coming in contact with foreign officials who later tested positive.

Both Pence and Trump were negative, the White House said.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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