Ted Cruz extends coronavirus self-quarantine after interaction with Spanish official who tested positive

Ted Cruz exposed to second coronavirus case
Ted Cruz exposed to second coronavirus case 07:08

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz revealed that he was extending his self-quarantine during an exclusive appearance on "CBS This Morning" Friday. Cruz had been cleared from his initial self-quarantine on Thursday after becoming the first U.S. senator to sequester himself over concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic

Cruz said he would be remaining in his Texas home "out an an abundance of caution" rather than on the word of medical officials, although he has not been tested. 

Cruz initially went into self-quarantine after he and several other congressional Republicans came into contact with an individual at last month's Conservative Political Action Conference who later tested positive. President Trump and Vice President Pence were in attendance as well.

He said he was getting ready to take his family out for dinner on Friday night when he got a call on Thursday evening that "a Spanish government official" he interacted with in Washington, D.C. tested positive for COVID-19. 

According to the senator, he met the official on March 3 in his D.C. office and spent about 20 minutes speaking in a conference room.

"Given that interaction, I'm consulting with medical authorities, as I did the first time," Cruz said. "But my intention is simply to extend the self-quarantine to March 17, which is a full 14 days from the interaction."

Cruz said he remains "strong and healthy" and that he has no symptoms and "very little reason to be concerned." 

He added it was still "wise to be prudent," given the gravity of the health crisis. 

Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Chris Smith were also reportedly photographed with the official in question. When asked whether they should self-quarantine along with President Trump after the CPAC event, Cruz said he would "leave it to each person in consultation with medical officials and their doctors to make those assessments," adding that he did not know who any of them had interacted with. 

"On my end, I spent a great deal speaking with the CDC, speaking with HHS, speaking with the Harris County and the City of Houston health officials. All of them told me the risks of transmission were quote low because my interaction with the CPAC individual was very limited and nine days passed," he said. Cruz added that in the second instance with the Spanish official, the interaction was longer. 

Cruz said his family would not be self-quarantining along with him, and that he would be keeping a safe distance from them.