U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz says he "briefly interacted" with person who tested positive for coronavirus


"That interaction consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Sunday he had interacted with a person just days beforehand at the Conservative Political Action Conference who has since tested positive for the new coronavirus.

"That interaction consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake," Cruz said in a statement, adding that he has decided to stay at his home in Houston "until a full 14 days have passed since the CPAC interaction," though the interaction did not meet the Center for Disease Control's criteria for self-quarantine.

Cruz also said in his statement that while he had not experienced any symptoms, he had already consulted with authorities from the Houston Health Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, among others, along with Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and newly named White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

"Given that the interaction was 10 days ago, that the average incubation period is 5-6 days, that the interaction was for less than a minute, and that I have no current symptoms, the medical authorities have advised me that the odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low," Cruz said in his statement. "The medical authorities explicitly advised me that, given the above criteria, the people who have interacted with me in the 10 days since CPAC should not be concerned about potential transmission."

There have been at least 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, though health officials have not reported any cases of community spread of the virus.