Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Ben McAdams of Utah, said on Wednesday they had tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first members of Congress known to have contracted the respiratory illness.
Diaz-Balart, a Republican, said in a statement he had been self-quarantining in Washington since voting on Friday on the floor of the House of Representatives. He said he had not returned home to South Florida because his wife’s pre-existing conditions put her at exceptionally high risk.
The 58-year-old congressman said he developed a fever and headache on Saturday evening and was notified “a short while ago” that he tested positive.
McAdams said in a statement from West Jordan, Utah, that he had developed “mild cold-like” symptoms on Saturday evening after returning from Washington and isolated himself at home on Sunday. He and Diaz-Balart participated in House voting on a coronavirus response bill that went until late on Friday.
McAdams’ symptoms got worse and he took a test at a clinic on Tuesday on his doctor’s instruction. He learned on Wednesday that he had tested positive, the 45-year-old Democrat said.
The House is currently in recess and due to return next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the positive tests would affect House operations.
Over the past few weeks, several other members of the Senate and House have self-quarantined after possibly coming in contact with a person with the coronavirus. But Diaz-Balart and McAdams were the first to say they had tested positive.
“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Diaz-Balart, who was first elected to Congress in 2002, said in the statement.
“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,” he said, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
McAdams urged people to follow CDC recommendations and said he would work from home “until I know it is safe to end my self-quarantine.
“I’m doing my part as all Americans are doing to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak,” added McAdams, a former mayor of Salt Lake City who was elected to Congress in 2018.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)