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Rep. Tests Positive, Blames Unmasked Colleagues

Some lawmakers refused to wear masks while sheltering from Capitol riot
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2021 1:40 PM CST
Rep. Who Sheltered With Colleagues Tests Positive
Lawmakers prepare to evacuate the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the US Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman says she tested positive for COVID-19 Monday—a day after Congress' attending physician warned that lawmakers who sheltered together during the Capitol riot may have been exposed and should get tested. Coleman, a Democrat, says she believes she was infected by colleagues who refused to wear masks during the hours they spent in a secure room, NBC New York reports. "She believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the US Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots," her office said in a statement. "As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks." Coleman's office said she had already received one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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"I am home resting at this time," Coleman tweeted Monday. "While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents." Video shows that when Democratic Rep. Lisa Rochester distributed masks to people in the secure room, six Republicans, including Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, refused them. Greene "does not believe healthy Americans should be forced to muzzle themselves with a mask," her office said in a statement to CNN. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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