U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis has said he'll return to the campaign trail after testing negative for COVID-19 and having quarantined for four days following President Trump's visit to Minnesota.
The Republican candidate, who is facing Democratic incumbent Tina Smith on Nov. 3, was among the GOPers who were involved in the president's visit to Minnesota last Wednesday.
Subsequently, the president, the First Lady, and a series of White House officials have been confirmed as having COVID-19, with the president's aide Hope Hicks reported to have developed symptoms during the day on Wednesday and was quarantined on Air Force One as it returned to the White House.
In the days after, Minnesota Republicans who were present during the president's rally in Duluth – some of whom traveled with him on Air Force One – have been getting tested for the virus amid the outbreak at the White House.
Lewis announced Monday that he has received a negative test, and that he will be returning to the campaign trail having quarantined for the past four days.
"Although guidance from the Office of the Attending Physician of the House of Representatives as well as my own doctor suggests I did not meet the criteria of 'close contact' with the President, which is being within six feet for a duration of fifteen minutes, out of an overabundance of caution I nevertheless self quarantined for four days and got tested, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been feeling fine, received negative tests results this morning, and will be returning to the campaign trail."
The guidance from various public health bodies including the Minnesota Department of Health is that someone who has been in close contact with a known, positive COVID-19 case – described as less than 6 feet away for 15 minutes or more – should quarantine for 14 days.
Lewis, along with Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt greeted the president as he landed in Minnesota. While they were briefly close to the president, they did not shake hands, Lewis' spokesperson Christine Snell said.
Furthermore, Snell said Lewis didn't come in close contact with other White House dignitaries who have since tested positive for COVID-19.
Sen. Gazelka says he also received a negative test on Monday, but has said he will limit his activities for the coming days, and will take another test later in the week.
Lewis was also pictured with U.S. Reps. Pete Stauber, Jim Hagedorn, and Tom Emmer, who flew with the president and his entourage – including Hicks – to Minnesota on Air Force One and have been criticized for flying with Delta on Friday after the president's positive test had been confirmed.
The incubation period for COVID-19 ranges from 2-14 days, so someone who tests negative after an exposure may still test positive days later.
For example, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced Monday she had tested positive for COVID-19, despite posting several negative tests since the president's diagnosis.
Lewis has been a critic of lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, holding numerous campaign events and meetings in which face masks weren't worn, while some of campaign stops have been held indoors and without masks despite guidance from public health officials.