WASHINGTON – Five members of Congress have tested positive for coronavirus as the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic, causing other members who may have been exposed to go into self-quarantine and raising the question of whether there are more cases on Capitol Hill.
Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician, has been working to identify any individuals who had contact with the members who tested positive, according to guidance from Office of the Attending Physician sent by House officials to members.
More than three dozen lawmakers so far have gone into self-quarantine after coming into contact or being in the vicinity of someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Rep. Mike Kelly
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., announced Friday that he tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing flu-like symptoms earlier this week.
Kelly said that he was tested "at the drive-through testing site" at a Butler, Pennsylvania, hospital.
"My symptoms remain mild, and I will serve the 16th district from home until I fully recover," his statement said, adding that he was "not in Washington for the House vote on the third coronavirus relief package" but that he would have voted in favor of it.
Rep. Joe Cunningham
Cunningham, D-S.C., announced a positive test for the coronavirus on Friday.
"While I otherwise feel fine, since March 17th I have been unable to smell or taste, which I learned this week is a potential symptom of COVID-19," he said in a statement. Cunningham said he was tested on Thursday after a remote consultation with a physician and received a positive result Friday.
"While my symptoms have begun to improve, I will remain at home until I know it is safe to leave self-quarantine," Cunningham said in a statement, adding that he would continue to work remotely.
Cunningham said he had been in self-quarantine since March 19 after coming into contact with another member of Congress who tested positive.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., announced on March 18 that he tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first known member of Congress to contract the rapidly spreading virus.
Diaz-Balart, 58, who represents parts of Miami and South Florida, said in a statement that he decided to self-quarantine in Washington Friday night after voting with hundreds of his colleagues on the House floor for a coronavirus relief package. He said he decided to stay in Washington because his wife has pre-existing conditions, and thus is more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus.
Diaz-Balart said that the following day, he started to show symptoms that included a fever and headache. He was notified on Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus. In the statement, Diaz-Balart did not indicate where he may have contracted the illness, nor why he decided to self-quarantine.
"I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better," Diaz-Balart said in a 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. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times."
I'm feeling much better. However, it's important that everyone take this seriously and follow @CDCgov guidelines in order to avoid getting sick & mitigate the spread of this virus. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times. pic.twitter.com/g5W5vSQIyH— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) March 18, 2020
Rep. Ben McAdams
McAdams, D-Utah, said he started developing mild symptoms Saturday, March 21, after returning from Washington, D.C., and immediately began isolating himself after consultation with his doctor.
"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," he said in a statement. "Today I learned that I tested positive.
"I Urge Utahns to take this seriously and follow the health recommendations we're getting from the CDC and other health experts so that we can recover from this public threat," said McAdams, 45.
Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus and is being quarantined, his office announced Sunday.
“Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19,” reads a statement on his official Twitter feed. “He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.
“He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul.”
The statement did not say when Paul tested positive, nor when he might have contracted the illness, but his infection could mean several more lawmakers were exposed.