Sen. John Hickenlooper Tests Positive For COVID-19 Along With Two Other U.S. Senators

August 19, 2021
Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.Susan Walsh/AP
Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.

Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. He was the third U.S. Senator to announce on Thursday breakthrough COVID-19 infections.

Hickenlooper joins Senate colleagues Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi and  Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, in announcing they had each tested positive for COVID-19. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina also reported a breakthrough infection earlier this month.

Hickenlooper said in a statement that he has mild symptoms but feels good and will continue to isolate per the instructions of the congressional physician. 

“I’m grateful for the vaccine (and the scientists behind it) for limiting my symptoms and allowing us to continue our work for Colorado. If you haven’t been vaccinated, don’t wait for the virus — get the shot today, and a booster when it’s available too!”

With the rise in coronavirus cases, a mask mandate returned to the Capitol towards the end of July, but only on the House side. Still, before the August recess, most Democratic senators wore masks in the building and in the Senate chamber, while many Republicans did not.  

Colorado does not regularly release information about breakthrough infections, but in early August, the state did announce that positive cases among vaccinated Coloradans had risen sharply in July. While still making up just three percent of all COVID-19 infections since Jan. 1, the breakthrough cases in Colorado were 20 percent of all identified cases in the first three weeks of July.

COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the U.S. Capitol last year. NPR reported that dozens of lawmakers got sick and hundreds of staff members tested positive. From Colorado's delegation, both Rep. Doug Lamborn and Rep. Ed Perlmutter tested positive for COVID-19 last November.

This year has been much quieter, as most members of Congress got vaccinated. Until this summer, NPR reports that the most recent outbreak of cases for members of Congress occurred after the Jan. 6 insurrection. It forced members to gather inside in close quarters for several hours, and not all members wore masks. Still, a small group of House members has refused to get vaccinated.

CPR’s Caitlyn Kim contributed reporting.


 CPR’s coverage of Colorado’s congressional delegation focuses on accountability and on providing information constituents need to live their lives. Read more about our priorities here.

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