NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Speaking with CBS This Morning on Friday Texas Senator Ted Cruz confirmed he has extended his self-quarantine after learning he had contact with a second person who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Cruz first took the step to self-isolate after interacting with a man who tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last month.
His isn’t displaying any symptoms and Cruz said his latest self-quarantine did not come on the advice of medical officials. “This is another self-quarantine just out of an abundance of caution,” he said. “The first interaction I had was at CPAC — it was a brief interaction with someone who has since tested positive and is ill.”
At that time doctors advised the senator that his interaction was so brief and that so much time had passed [9 days] that quarantine wasn’t even necessary. Speaking from Houston Cruz said he took the action just to be sure.
“That quarantine ended yesterday, and I have to admit I was relieved… and then last night I got the news that I had encountered, interacted, a second individual who has tested positive.”
Cruz said the positive patient is a Spanish government official who he met with in a conference room at his office in Washington, D.C. for about 20 minutes on March 3.
Cruz said the man tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday night. “Given that interaction — I’m consulting with medical authorities as I did the first time — but my intention is simply to extend the self-quarantine until March 17.”
The senator said he chose the isolation date because it is a full 14 days from the date of interaction.
“Given the gravity of this health crisis it is also wise to be prudent and when you’ve encountered people who’ve tested positive the best way to prevent the spread of this disease is social distancing and preventing unnecessary central transmission,” he said.
Other senators, along with both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attended the same political conference in February. When asked if he thought if they too should self-quarantine Cruz said, “I leave it to each person in consultation with medical officials and their doctors to make those assessments,” he said. “I don’t know with whom they interacted. On my end I spent a great deal of time speaking with the CDC, speaking with HHS, speaking with Harris County and the City of Houston health officials, all of the told me the risk of transmission was quite low.”
While Cruz said he remains without symptoms, he admitted that he has not been tested for the coronavirus. “The physicians all advised me not to get tested unless I got sick. They said if you get sick then you should get tested, but the test is medically ineffective if you’re not sick.”
But Cruz admitted that there are a number of public policy steps that need to be taken to prevent this, and any, outbreak. He said there needs to be more testing in the field and that protective materials should be available in larger numbers.
The Texas republican also said there needs to be a focus on getting critical resources for hospitals and making sure they have the equipment needed to care for those that are critically ill.