Utah Senate president appeared for a session unmasked after testing positive for COVID: report

Utah Senate president appeared for a session unmasked after testing positive for COVID: report
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Kirsten Frankly

A top-ranking Republican lawmaker in Utah is facing deep criticism following his decision to open the 2022 session unmasked despite recently testing positive for COVID-19.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Senate Chief of Staff Mark Thomas offered an update about the series of COVID tests Utah Senate President Stuart Adams (R) took in the days leading up to the session on Tuesday, January 18. Thomas indicated that Adams "tested negative on Monday, then tested positive Tuesday morning."

When Adams took a second test on Tuesday, it was initially believed that those results were negative. However, it was later determined that a more faint line on the test suggested it was also positive. According to Thomas, Adams really thought he'd tested negative twice when he spoke on the Senate floor.

In the midst of all the confusion, Senate deputy chief of staff Aundrea Peterson released a statement addressing the situation on Adams' behalf.

“President Adams took COVID-19 tests and had mixed results, which may have caused confusion,” Senate deputy chief of staff Aundrea Peterson said in her statement. “It’s not uncommon to test positive days after contracting COVID-19, and according to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], a positive test after recently recovering from COVID-19 does not mean the individual is contagious.”

The latest Senate session debacle comes just days after Adams began suffering from symptoms of COVID on Wednesday of last week. Then, on Thursday, he tested positive for the virus.

Peterson also insists that Adams had followed protocol per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines prior to the Senate session. She also indicated that Adams' COVID symptoms had subsided and he hadn't had a fever since Saturday. However, per the Salt Lake City Tribune, the CDC's latest requirements "state that someone with COVID-19 should isolate for five days and then wear a mask for an additional five days to prevent the spread of the virus."

Based on the timeline, Adams had not met the second CDC requirement before appearing on the Senate floor.

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