A New Jersey congresswoman has tested positive for Covid-19 five days after taking shelter with lawmakers who refused to wear masks as the Capitol was stormed by rioters, she announced Monday.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who recently survived cancer, said she was “experiencing mild cold-like symptoms” after testing positive for the novel virus, adding that she was working from home.
The 75-year-old House Democrat’s office said in its announcement of the diagnosis that she “believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots.”
“As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks,” her office said.
Video captured during the riots obtained Friday by Punchbowl News showed a group of lawmakers refusing masks from a fellow member of Congress as they all sheltered together in a secure, but small and enclosed, location.
Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Michael Cloud (R-Tx.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) could all be seen speaking closely to one another, with none wearing masks.
Within moments, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) could be seen approaching the group and offering each a mask.
All politely declined, with Mullin telling the Democrat that he was “not trying to get political here.”
An aide to Watson Coleman told CNN Monday that she was quarantined in the secure room where that video was taken.
While a large swath of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been diagnosed with the novel virus, the New Jersey pol marks the first to receive a positive test in the wake of the Capitol riots.
It is not clear if Watson Coleman opted to take the test as a result of the Capitol Physician’s weekend warning to lawmakers about their exposure risk.
On Sunday, Dr. Brian Monahan issued a memo to lawmakers warning that some may have been exposed to the virus while huddling together for shelter.
“On Wednesday January 6, many members of the House community were in protective isolation in [a] room located in a large committee hearing space,” Monahan wrote.
“The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others. During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”
Monahan did not say if there was a specific person who his office knew had the virus and had sheltered in the room.
Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.) announced that he had tested positive for Covid early Thursday, less than 24 hours after the deadly riots.
He was in the Capitol building that day, though it is not clear if he was in the room where the maskless video was shot.
New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman has COVID-19 after Capitol riots The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.