Sen. Chuck Grassley, 87, cleared by doctors to return to work following COVID-19 diagnosis

Stephen Gruber-Miller, Des Moines Register
·2 min read

Sen. Chuck Grassley returned to work at his Washington office Monday after completing a quarantine period caused by a positive coronavirus test on Nov. 17.

Grassley, 87, has remained symptom-free in the days since his diagnosis, he said. Grassley's spokesperson, Michael Zona, said his doctors cleared him to return to the office at the end of last week.

In a statement, Grassley said he was glad to return to the office after working remotely from home during his isolation.

"During my quarantine, I heard from so many Iowans and Americans across the country. I'm thankful for their prayers and well wishes," Grassley said in the statement. "This disease affects people differently. I did not experience symptoms, but more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized. 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 is the Senate's oldest currently serving Republican and the second-oldest currently serving senator overall. He is the Senate president pro tempore, making him third in line for the presidency, after the vice president and speaker of the House.

Running list: Which members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19?

Grassley, who periodically provided updates about his health through Twitter, said early last week that he was doing well and planned to return to work after Thanksgiving. Congress is back in session after a recess for the holiday.

Grassley said in his statement Monday that news about vaccine development means "there is a light at the end of the tunnel" but that Iowans should stay vigilant against the virus in the coming months.

"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," Grassley said.

Grassley has not said where he was exposed to the virus. Zona said Monday that he could not answer questions about whether Grassley's wife, Barbara, or any other family members had tested positive for coronavirus.

"Determining with certainty how infection occurred is extremely difficult. And speculating would be irresponsible, especially if it involved divulging information about a private citizen’s personal health. That would be highly inappropriate for a government office," Zona said in a statement.

At least eight senators have tested positive for the virus and more than a dozen have proactively quarantined after exposure.

Follow Stephen Gruber-Miller on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Chuck Grassley, 87, returns to Senate office after COVID-19 diagnosis