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Sen. Cruz Returns To Capitol Hill Symptom-Free After Home Quarantine

Sen. Ted Cruz, seen at an election night party in 2018, quarantined himself after being potentially exposed to COVID-19
Julia Reihs
Sen. Ted Cruz, seen at an election night party in 2018, quarantined himself earlier this month after being potentially exposed to COVID-19.

U.S. Ted Cruz was back in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, after spending nearly a week in self-quarantine at his Houston home. Though he did not get sick, the Texas Republican’s voluntary isolation underscored the gravity of the coronavirus outbreak that Congress and the White House are now seeking expansive measures to address.

Cruz announced his initial quarantine last week after learning he and several others were potentially exposed to the virus during a political conference in late February. He extended his isolation time, set to end Thursday, when a Spanish political official with whom he met and shook hands in early March tested positive for the virus.  

“I've been working from home and able to be very productive at home,” he said during a phone interview Tuesday, his last day of quarantine. “Between the telephone and internet and email, I am able to get quite a bit done.”

Despite being homebound, Cruz had been vocal about taking action, speaking to local media outlets, recording podcasts and outlining steps federal officials should take to better address the public health crisis.

The most crucial step, he said, is making testing for the virus more accurate and available. 

“Clearly, there was a problem with the rollout of the testing kits,” Cruz said of the federal government’s initial efforts to provide for local testing. “And, I think the problem there was that the [Trump] administration tried to keep the response within the federal government and within the CDC in particular. Unfortunately, one of the labs where they were developing the kits had an issue with contamination and the initial kits were faulty, and that slowed down the rollout substantially.”

Cruz is also pushing federal officials to get more medical supplies to first-responders, expand hospital capacities and fast-track clinical testing for a vaccine and antiviral drugs. 

Reportedly healthy and symptom-free, the junior senator from Texas said he’s eager to resume working more directly with his staff and fellow senators.

“Obviously, as the Senate debates measures to deal with the public health crisis, it is helpful to be in D.C. and be able to engage directly with your colleagues” he said. 

Joseph Leahy anchors morning newscasts for NPR's statewide public radio collaborative, Texas Newsroom. He began his career in broadcast journalism as a reporter for St. Louis Public Radio in 2011. The following year, he helped launch Delaware's first NPR station, WDDE, as an afternoon newscaster and host. Leahy returned to St. Louis in 2013 to anchor local newscasts during All Things Considered and produce news on local and regional issues. In 2016, he took on a similar role as the local Morning Edition newscaster at KUT in Austin, before moving over to the Texas Newsroom.
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