At least 2 members of Congress have coronavirus

At least 2 members of Congress have coronavirus
The U.S. Capitol. (Source: Toni Smith, USGS. Public domain)

WASHINGTON — Two members of the U.S. House announced Wednesday that they had tested positive for COVID-19, leading other lawmakers to announce their own self-quarantine plans and increasing uncertainty about how far the illness has already spread on Capitol Hill.

Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart issued a statement Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He decided to self-quarantine in Washington after he voted in the House last week, rather than return to South Florida, due to concerns about his wife’s pre-existing health condition. He later developed symptoms including a fever and a headache, according to his statement.

“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” he said. “However, it is important that everyone take this extremely seriously and follow CDC guidelines in order to avoid getting sick and mitigate the spread of this virus. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”

Later on Wednesday evening, Utah Republican Rep. Ben McAdams announced he had also tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus.

He developed “mild cold-like symptoms” after he returned home from Washington on Saturday evening, he said. “My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantined.” He was tested on Tuesday and learned Wednesday that it was positive.

Other House lawmakers had previously announced self-quarantines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the announcements on Wednesday marked the first confirmed cases of the illness in the U.S. Congress.

Other lawmakers announced plans to self-quarantine after coming into contact with their colleagues.

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