By CLARE FORAN and DANIELLA DIAZ
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat, said Monday that she has tested positive for COVID-19, and she blamed fellow members of Congress who sheltered in place without masks during the violent attack on the US Capitol last week.
“Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a COVID test. I have tested positive,” the congresswoman tweeted.
A statement from her office said that the congresswoman “believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots. As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks.”
CNN has previously reported that six House Republicans were captured on video refusing masks offered by a colleague during the US Capitol insurrection.
An aide told CNN that Watson Coleman was in the room in the secure location with the six conservative Republicans who refused to wear masks.
Lawmakers and Capitol staff on Sunday received a memo from the Capitol’s attending physician warning of a possible risk of COVID-19 exposure after a large group of lawmakers were forced to gather in a secure location during the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
“On Wednesday, Jan. 6, many members of the House community were in protective isolation in (a) room located in a large committee hearing space. The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others. During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection,” Dr. Brian P. Monahan wrote.
In the memo, Monahan instructed lawmakers and staff to monitor for possible COVID-19 symptoms and to be tested for COVID-19 as a precaution.