The entirety of Georgia’s Senate was advised to preemptively self-quarantine after a member of the chamber tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health Dr. Kathleen Toomey recommended that due to the circumstances, the best course of action would be to immediately isolate to slow the spread of the illness.
Entire Georgia Senate exposed
Republican Sen. Brandon Beach began feeling presumptive symptoms of the virus last week, and was tested on Saturday. However, he returned to the chamber on Monday to cast a vote before his test results were read.
“After experiencing a fever and cough, I sought medical attention last week,” Beach admitted on Wednesday evening. “The diagnosis I was given was not coronavirus, but I did get tested for it on Saturday. With medication, I felt better by Monday and thought I was in the clear. Today, however, my test came back positive.”
“For now, I’m at home. I continue to suffer from a fever and cough, but I’m following doctor’s orders, including the admonition to stay away from the hospital unless it becomes difficult to breathe. I know many Georgians are praying hard as we weather this crisis together, and frankly, I’d ask that they pray for me, as well as all the others in our state who are going through this right now — and those who soon will,” Beach told the Marietta Daily Journal.
Beach reported his test results to the Senate on Wednesday, and the chamber soon released a statement confirming that “Senate members and Senate employees have been asked to self-quarantine for fourteen days.”
The statement also warned, “while not a part of the official recommendation to self-quarantine, members of the public who frequent the Capitol should use their best judgment when making a decision to self-quarantine and should contact their primary care provider if they begin to exhibit any symptoms.”
This development comes on the heels of the news that two members of the U.S. Congress, Reps. Ben McAdams (D-UT), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.
McAdams began experiencing symptoms on Saturday and self-isolated on Sunday after consulting with his physician.
“My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantine,” McAdams stated on Wednesday. “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.”
Diaz-Balart also began experiencing symptoms on Saturday and went into self-quarantine soon after in Washington D.C. due to the fact that his wife’s pre-existing conditions “put her at exceptionally high risk.”
Concerns about the likelihood of COVID-19 spread among members of Congress have prompted many calls for remote voting, but Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dismissed the notion, saying on Tuesday “We’ll not be doing that. There are a number of different ways to avoid getting too many people together.”