Sen. Brian Jones of Santee has not said when he was tested or if he was showing symptoms. Photo by Chris Stone

Senate Republicans who may have come into contact with Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee, who tested positive for COVID-19, will be able to debate and vote from their homes, according to an announcement from State Senate leadership.

“Following the announcement yesterday that a Senator had tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately ordered a complete cleaning of Senate facilities and began contact tracing to ensure everyone who might have been exposed was informed,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, announced in an email to staff and legislators.

“Unfortunately, the nature of the gathering that resulted in the exposures was such that virtually every member of the Republican Caucus is now unable to enter the Capitol without violating public health orders.”

Previously, the Senate has allowed members to vote remotely from their district offices on bills during committee hearings, but required senators to travel to Sacramento for floor sessions scheduled during the last two weeks, when final votes are cast.

Atkins said the Senate Rules Committee determined working from district officers would also put people at health risk, and “for that reason, we will only allow the exposed members, who are subject to a quarantine order, to participate from their Sacramento residences.”

Jones, who was on the Senate floor in Sacramento, wearing a face mask on Monday, has not said when he was tested or if he was showing symptoms.

According to a statement posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, Jones “Today, upon his return to Sacramento this week for the end of session, received news that he has tested positive for COVID-19.”

“He will be taking additional tests to recheck the results and to rule out possibility of a false-positive result. In the meantime, he’ll be following CDC and CDPH protocols for those receiving a positive test result. Any further inquiries are to be directed to the Senate pro Tem’s office.”

Jones represents the 38th District encompassing much of East San Diego County including El Cajon, Santee, Alpine, La Mesa, San Marcos, Escondido and Lemon Grove.

Staff and legislators in both the Senate and Assembly received emails Wednesday from Atkins, notifying them that someone in the Senate had tested positive for the virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who are tested self-isolate while awaiting their results.

Two Assembly members previously tested positive for the virus this summer, prompting a two-week extension of their regular recess in July.

“I know you all join me in wishing a speedy recovery to Senator Jones and in hoping that our quarantined colleagues remain in the best of health,” Atkins wrote.

— City News Service

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