Florida Republican, Utah Democrat become first congressmen to test positive for COVID-19

Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart became the first member of Congress to announce that he had tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, The Hill reported

Soon after, Utah Democrat Rep. Ben McAdams put out a statement saying that he had contracted COVID-19, as well.

Coronavirus in Congress

While a number of Capitol Hill staffers have already tested positive for the coronavirus disease, Diaz-Balart and McAdams are the first lawmakers to come down with COVID-19, The Hill reported.

In statements announcing their diagnoses, both congressmen urged fellow Americans to do their parts in containing the spread of the virus and to take recommendations from health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seriously.

“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Diaz-Balart said in a statement shared to his Twitter account on Wednesday. “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.”

Diaz-Balart added that Americans “must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”

The congressman will remain in self-quarantine in Washington for the time being, his Wednesday statement noted. Diaz-Balart declined to return home to Florida for the sake of his wife, who struggles with chronic lung disease and survived a bout with cancer, two “pre-existing conditions that put her at exceptionally high risk,” the Republican’s statement noted.

Containing the spread

Rep. McAdams, meanwhile, said in his Wednesday statement that he had begun experiencing “mild cold-like symptoms” on Sunday night that progressively grew more severe.

“My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough, and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantine,” the congressman said. “On Tuesday, my doctor instructed me to get tested for COVID-19 and following his referral, I went to the local testing clinic for the test. Today I learned I tested positive.”

McAdams added that he will continue “doing [his] part as all Americans are doing to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak.”

“It’s good to be back”

Elsewhere in Washington, senators like Texas Republican Ted Cruz recently underwent voluntary self-quarantines after being exposed to the virus via an infected attendee at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), according to Fox News. Cruz later announced that he was extending the quarantine period after the learning that a Spanish politician that he met had also tested positive, Fox reported.

The senator is now back to work at the Capitol, NBC News reported Wednesday.

“It’s good to be back in the Senate,” Cruz told reporters upon his return. “There’s a lot happening here and it’s valuable to be able to interact with your colleagues directly and in person. And I’m grateful to be back.”

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