Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL) announced Tuesday that he has tested negative for COVID-19, The Hill reported.
The announcement comes after it was revealed that he and several other lawmakers who attended this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington may have been exposed to the coronavirus disease via a fellow attendee who has since tested positive. Many of these lawmakers, including Gaetz, have opted to self-quarantine “in an abundance of caution.”
“I’ve just been informed that my COVID-19 lab result was negative,” the Florida Republican tweeted Tuesday. “In an abundance of caution, I will remain under self-quarantine at the advice of medical professionals through Thursday,” he added, noting: “I continue to feel fine and show no symptoms.”
Closing down Congress?
Gaetz’s office had released a statement the previous day announcing that while the congressman was “not experiencing symptoms,” he would be undergoing testing for the coronavirus disease.
“Under doctor’s usual precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain self-quarantined until the 14-day period expires this week,” the statement added, according to The Hill.
Gaetz made headlines earlier in the month when he wore a gas mask on Capitol Hill amid news of the virus’ spread. While the move brought condemnation from Democrats, Gaetz denied that he was making light of the situation.
“If there’s anybody that’s going to get coronavirus, it’s going to be the United States Congress,” a representative from Gaetz’s office said at the time, according to USA Today.
Coronavirus at CPAC
Perhaps with this in mind, Gaetz isn’t the only lawmaker to self-isolate after getting home from CPAC. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the first to reveal he may have been exposed to the virus at the conference, and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R) followed soon after.
“I am announcing that I, along with [three] of my senior staff, are officially under self-quarantine after sustained contact at CPAC with a person who has since been hospitalized with the Wuhan Virus,” Gosar tweeted Sunday. “We are all asymptomatic and feel great. But we are being proactive and cautious.”
Rep. Doug Collins tweeted out a similar message Monday, writing: “This afternoon, I was notified by CPAC that they discovered a photo of myself and the patient who has tested positive for COVID-19.”
Collins assured the public that despite “not experiencing any symptoms,” he has “decided to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the death toll from the coronavirus disease in the United States had surpassed 30, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, with the majority of fatalities concentrated in Washington state.