As the imminent threat of coronavirus continues to affect the nation, lawmakers in Congress are moving even faster to pass legislation that allows for economic relief for Americans.
The reason? Lawmakers themselves are beginning to test positive for COVID-19.
Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams reported on Wednesday evening that they had both tested positive for the coronavirus, and have been self-quantining as a result.
Diaz-Balart is a GOP representative from Florida’s 25th Congressional District, and said that he developed symptoms on Saturday evening beginning with a headache and a fever.
McAdams is a Democrat representing Utah’s 4th Congressional District, and he stated experiencing “mild, cold-like symptoms” on Saturday evening as well. Over time, these symptoms evolved into a fever, where McAdams then began coughing and experiencing difficulty breathing. He was “immediately isolated” in his home that evening.
These two individuals were both on the House floor this past Saturday voting to pass the second coronavirus relief package that President Trump just recently signed on Wednesday night.
Democratic House Speaker Nanci Pelosi’s office mentioned they have cleaned all areas that seem to have been at risk as a result of the in-house outbreak, and that the two affected congressmen are being attended by physicians and are “ill, but in good condition. They are following CDC specified self-isolations guidelines at their homes.”
Diaz-Balart has not yet returned to Florida because his wife Tia, has a preexisting condition that could make her exposure to the coronavirus a severe one if she catches it.
“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better.” Diaz-Balart states, “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.”
Diaz-Balart and McAdams aren’t the only two members of Congress taking precautions over the recent spread on the House floor. There are seven other members of Congress who have announced they would self-quarantine after experiencing exposure in various places, including an added scare that three Hill staffers have tested positive for the virus.
A GOP physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, is working with lawmakers who are getting tested, and connecting with members who could have been exposed.
Monahan is conferring with those lawmakers who are coming out testing positive for COVID-19, and having discussions with them about who they’ve come into contact with as of late in order to map about the affecting parties, in which case Monahan would attempt to advise those individuals to self-quarantine so they don’t spread the virus any further.
GOP Representative Drew Furguson is a crowning example of this process, who mentioned through his Twitter that he will now be self-quarantining until March 27th after being informed by Monahan that he had come into contact with a member of Congress who had tested positive for the virus.
The spread of the virus in Congress has also prompted an increasing interest to allow remote voting for House lawmakers in order to further stem the outbreak, however there have currently been no decisions made.
John Rosenbaum is an Orange County worker’s compensation and personal injury attorney.