CORONAVIRUS

After COVID-19 isolation, Chuck Grassley back at work in Washington

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, attends an Oct. 29 campaign event with Vice President Mike Pence at an airport rally i
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, attends an Oct. 29 campaign event with Vice President Mike Pence at an airport rally in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

After completing COVID-19 isolation, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley returned to work Monday in Washington.

Grassley, 87, announced Nov. 17 he had tested positive that morning for COVID-19. He began a voluntary isolation at his Washington-area residence and said a week later that he was “feeling good.”

Neither he nor his staff will say how contact tracers believe he was exposed to COVID-19.

Grassley, Senate president pro tempore and third in line of presidential succession behind the vice president and speaker of the House, was asymptomatic throughout his quarantine and was cleared to return by his doctors, according to a statement.

“I did not experience symptoms, but more than 1,000 Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized,” he said. “That means we all have to do our part to help protect our friends, family and fellow Americans. I will continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing.”

Grassley, who worked from home during his isolation, thanked Iowans and others for their prayers and well wishes.

Although the news about COVID-19 vaccines suggest “there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Grassley said Americans must continue using best practices for mitigating the disease.

“That makes staying vigilant in the coming months all the more important,” he said. “Congress must do its part and pass long overdue relief legislation to help families, businesses and communities get through this crisis. I hope my colleagues reach the same conclusion and a bipartisan bill can pass very soon.”

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Grassley, who is in his seventh Senate term dating to 1981 and currently serves as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is the oldest Republican member of the U.S. Senate. Until his quarantine, Grassley had gone 27 years without missing a Senate vote. The last time he missed a vote was during Iowa flooding in 1993.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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