Portman says he has contracted COVID-19

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2022

COLUMBUS (AP) — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a pro-vaccine Republican from Ohio, said Tuesday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Portman, who was vaccinated against the coronavirus, said he learned of his condition from an at-home test taken Monday night in preparation for returning to the Capitol. His office confirmed he has received the booster.

“I am asymptomatic and feel fine,” he wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

Email newsletter signup

He said he will be isolating for five days, in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and doctors’ advice. Working remotely this week will mean he is not able to be in Washington for votes, he said.

Portman, 66, has broken with the vaccine skeptics in his party since the early days of the pandemic, arguing the shots are the best way to avoid serious illness and hospitalization.

In November 2020, he announced that he was enrolled in a clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine then being developed by Janssen-Johnson & Johnson, which was being managed by a research center in the Cincinnati area, where he lives.

“I look at it as a way I can play a small role in supporting our country’s health care response to this pandemic,” he said in statement at the time. Portman said that the more people who were enrolled, the sooner the vaccine could get through the FDA approval process and be available to the public.

Two other Ohio lawmakers, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, announced testing positive for the virus last year.