UPDATED 11:35 AM PT — Thursday, March 19, 2020
Two representatives in the House have tested positive for coronavirus and are now warning the rest of their colleagues to be concerned. Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart and Utah Democrat Ben McAdams became the first lawmakers to announce they contracted the virus on Wednesday.
According to their statements, they had started experiencing cold-like symptoms Saturday night, just hours after voting on the House floor with hundreds of their colleagues.
During a following interview, McAdams stated he was told by his physician that anybody who came into close contact with him from Friday onward needs to take extra precautions. He added that he didn’t have close contact with many lawmakers last weekend, but suggested Capitol Hill may want to make changes to its meetings in light of the health concerns.
“It does place into the ability of Congress to get stuff done,” stated Rep. McAdams. “I don’t think it approaches the level of having a quorum, but certainly where we limited social gatherings to no more than 10, it’s something we should think about with Congress with 435 members and gathering for votes.”
— Rep. Ben McAdams (@RepBenMcAdams) March 19, 2020
Meanwhile, Diaz-Balart said he’s recovering well from the virus, but urged everyone in the U.S. to work together to stay safe. Over a dozen Congress members who came into contact with Diaz-Balart and McAdams are now self-quarantining, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
Others are requesting new rules for Congress amid the outbreak with a joint letter calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to introduce remote voting. The letter details a crowded House floor is inconsistent with government’s own public health guidelines.
I'd like to thank all of my friends and colleagues for their well-wishes as I recover from #COVID2019. With that being said, I continue to reiterate the seriousness of this pandemic and urge you to stay home and follow the @CDCgov's recommendations.
— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) March 19, 2020