March 19, 2020 -- Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, and Ben McAdams D-Utah, each announced Wednesday they have tested positive for COVID-19. They’re the first members of Congress to receive an official diagnosis.
Diaz-Balart, 58, had been self-quarantined in Washington, D.C., since voting Friday, March 13, his office said in a news release. The next day, he had a fever and a headache. On Wednesday, he was told of the positive test result. He remains isolated in Washington.
"I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” he 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.”
McAdams, 45, returned home to Utah on Saturday, and had cold-like symptoms soon after, he said in a statement. He consulted with his doctor and went into isolation Sunday. His symptoms worsened to a fever, dry cough, and labored breathing, and on Tuesday, his doctor recommended he get tested. The result came back positive the next day. He remains isolated at home in Utah.
McAdams told NBC News it felt like having a belt around his chest and that he couldn’t breathe deeply.
“I’m doing my part as all Americans are doing to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak,” he said. “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 health threat.”
Even before both men were diagnosed, a number of lawmakers had been self-quarantined due to various levels of exposure to COVID-19. As of today, at least 21 members of Congress are quarantined or have announced plans to do so.