COVID-positive Wisconsin senator attended fundraiser while awaiting test results

Public health guidelines recommend isolating while waiting for test results.
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A Republican senator from Wisconsin attended an Oktoberfest fundraiser while he was awaiting results from a COVID-19 test, which turned out to be positive. 

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said over the weekend he tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the third senator and among several Republicans and/or White House officials to contract the virus around the same time as President Donald Trump, who tested positive on Thursday. 

Related: MDH: If you attended Trump's MN events, get tested. If you met with him, quarantine.

Johnson said he took a "precautionary" COVID-19 test prior to attending the Republican Party of Ozaukee County’s Oktoberfest dinner in Mequon on Friday, Oct. 3, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. On the way home, he found out he tested positive. 

Johnson's office said he was exposed to someone on Sept. 29 who later tested positive, with Johnson telling reporters in a call on Saturday morning that person is his chief of staff, Channel 3000 says.

The senator's actions go against the guidance from public health officials, who recommend anyone who is waiting for test results to stay home and isolate, especially if they have symptoms. Public health guidance also says if someone is exposed to someone with COVID-19, they should quarantine for 14 days regardless of test results. 

When asked why he didn't self-isolate, Johnson said he didn't have symptoms, the Wisconsin State Journal says. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, if you're awaiting a test but don't have symptoms and must go out, wear a mask and stay six feet away from people.

Johnson has been outspoken against mask mandates, calling it a personal responsibility. 

“This was strictly a precautionary test, as I have done multiple times over the last few weeks — going to the White House, going to the Oval Office, being in Air Force One,” Johnson said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. “This is the exact same thing. I’ve never quarantined after a test, there’s no reason to do so, because I’m not sick. I have no symptoms. I certainly did not anticipate testing positive so there was no reason to quarantine.”

On Saturday, Johnson said he will quarantine until he gets the OK from his doctor, Channel 3000 reported. But then on Monday, he said he'll make sure he's in Washington to vote for Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

"If we have to go in and vote, I have already told leadership, I'll go in a moon suit," Johnson told 630 KHOW in Denver. "We think this is pretty important. People can be fairly confident that Mitch McConnell is dedicated to holding this vote."

This comes as Senate Democrats, including Minnesota's Sen. Amy Klobuchar, push for the SCOTUS confirmation hearings to be delayed due to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee testing positive for COVID-19 and as Democrats and Republicans expect to see the number of senators and staff with the virus to increase, Axios reports.

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