First two members of Congress test positive for coronavirus

They are the first lawmakers to say they have contracted the illness

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Rep. Diaz-Balart in August 2017
Rep. Diaz-Balart in August 2017
(Raul E. Diego/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 18, 2020 - 10:39pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Utah Rep. Ben McAdams on Wednesday revealed that they have tested positive for the coronavirus, making them the first lawmakers to say they have contracted the illness.

Republican Congressman Diaz-Balart last Friday chose to self-quarantine in the nation's capital rather than return to Florida in order to protect his wife from the possibility of getting the illness.

Then on Saturday evening he started experiencing a fever and a headache.

"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. We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”

Utah Democrat Ben McAdams began feeling ill on Saturday, and then started quarantining himself on Sunday.

"On Saturday evening, after returning from Washington, D.C., I developed mild cold-like symptoms. In consultation with my doctor on Sunday, I immediately isolated myself in my home. I have been conducting all meetings by telephone," the congressman explained. "My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantined. 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. Today I learned that I tested positive.

Meanwhile, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise announced he will be self quarantining after having a lengthy meeting with Diaz-Balart last week. Scalise said he’s feeling fine and was taking the action as a precaution.