The coronavirus has made its way to Congress.
Reps. Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) announced Wednesday that they had tested positive for COVID-19, the Washington Examiner reported. The two became the first lawmakers on Capitol Hill to come down with the disease.
Going into quarantine
McAdams, a 45-year-old Utah Democrat, announced his diagnosis in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday.
“On Saturday evening, after returning from Washington, D.C., I developed mild cold-like symptoms,” McAdams wrote. “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 that I tested positive.”
The congressman added in his statement that he will work from home for the time being and urged his constituents to take the coronavirus crisis — and warnings about it from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — seriously.
“I am still working for Utahns and pursuing efforts to get Utahns the resources they need to as I continue doing my job from home until I know it is safe to end my self-quarantine,” McAdams said. “I urge Utahns to take this seriously and follow get health recommendations we’re getting from the CDC and other health experts so that we can recover from this public health threat.”
McAdams’ revelation came just hours after Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, 58, revealed that he, too, had tested positive.
“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Diaz-Balart tweeted late Wednesday afternoon. “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.”
The congressman added in a statement that though he is “feeling much better,” he will remain in self-quarantine in Washington. His wife, Tia, who suffers from pre-existing conditions that put her “at exceptionally high risk” from the virus, will remain in Florida, Diaz-Balart’s statement added.
“We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times,” he stressed in his tweet.
Several members of the GOP’s House leadership are now isolating themselves after having contact with Diaz-Balart, The Hill reported Thursday.
Given that he had a meeting earlier this week with Diaz-Balart, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) explained in a statement that he “decided it would be best to self-quarantine based on the guidance of the Attending Physician of the United States Congress.”
Last week, public tours of Capitol Hill were suspended due to concerns over the virus, according to Politico.