WASHINGTON – Fifteen members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 or been diagnosed with the coronavirus as the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic.
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.
Dozens of lawmakers have gone into self-quarantine after coming into contact or being in the vicinity of someone who has tested positive for the virus since March. Others have announced they have tested positive for antibodies to the virus, indicating they may have been previously infected.
Rep. Rodney Davis
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., announced he tested positive after regularly taking his temperature "because serving in Congress means I interact with many people, and it’s my duty to protect the health of those I serve."
"This morning, my temperature clocked in at 99 degrees Fahrenheit, which is higher than normal for me," he said Aug. 5. That led to him getting tested.
Rodney did not say where he thinks he got the virus, saying that he and his staff "take COVID-19 very seriously."
"My wife is a nurse and a cancer survivor, which puts her in an at-risk category like so many Americans," Rodney continued, saying his wife's test came back negative this morning. "My office and I have always followed and will continue to follow CDC guidelines, use social distancing, and wear masks or face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained."
"Other than a higher-than-normal temperature, I am showing no symptoms at this time and feel fine," Davis said.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., tested positive for COVID-19 after a week in Washington, D.C., that included a hearing with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who announced he had tested positive earlier the same week.
Grijalva said he was asymptomatic and in self-quarantine at his residence in the Washington area. It isn't clear how Grijalva contracted the virus, but the House Natural Resources Committee hearing that included Gohmert is a possibility.
"While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some Members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously," Grijalva said in a written statement Aug. 1. "Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families."
Rep. Louie Gohmert
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, tested positive for COVID-19 on July 29 ahead of a scheduled trip with the president to Texas on Air Force One. He said he was not experiencing any symptoms, but was tested at the White House before the trip, and would be self-quarantining for 10 days per the advice of White House and Congress physicians.
Gohmert was seen around Capitol Hill without wearing a mask ahead of his diagnosis, but claimed he had worn one more often in the last two weeks "more than I have in the whole last four months."
"I can't help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, I might have put some germs — some virus — onto the mask and breathed it in," Gohmert said in an interview with Texas station KETK.
The day before testing positive, Gohmert had participated in a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr.
Rep. Morgan Griffith
Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., announced July 14 that he tested positive for COVID-19. He said on Twitter that he has been self-isolating since noticing symptoms, which are currently not "significant."
Griffith held a news conference July 9 with other members of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative and libertarian sect of Congress, where they encouraged President Donald Trump and state officials to reopen schools across America in the fall for in-person instruction.
Rep. Tom Rice
Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., announced in a June 15 Facebook post that he, along with his wife and son had been infected.
"COVID-19 is a serious, sometimes deadly illness. We, however, have fared well," Rice said.
"I was lucky, and it was not bad for me. I had a low fever and a mild cough," he shared. "I never stopped eating or drinking or working or moving. The only bad thing is I have completely lost sense of taste and smell. CAN’T TASTE BACON!!!"
Rep. Neal Dunn
Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., announced April 9 he had a positive test for the coronavirus after visiting the emergency room "out of an abundance of caution" the evening of April 6. Dunn, 67, was not admitted to the hospital, but met the guidelines to receive testing.
Dunn's office said he quarantined at home and expected "a full recovery soon."
“He is keenly interested in new and faster testing to help everyone understand their risks … (and) reminds everyone that it is important for us all to stay home unless they are an essential employee or need essential items from stores or pharmacies," his office said in a statement.
Rep. Nydia Velásquez
Rep. Nydia Velásquez, D-N.Y., announced March 30 that the Office of the Attending Physician had diagnosed her "with presumed coronavirus infection."
Velásquez isolated herself at home and because her symptoms were mild, "neither COVID-19 laboratory testing nor a doctor's visit was recommended."
Rep. Mike Kelly
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., announced March 27 that he tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing flu-like symptoms earlier in the 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, March 27.
"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.
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"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."
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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 was quarantining, his office announced Sunday, March 22. Paul said in an update on April 7 he had been retested with a negative result and started volunteering at a local hospital.
“Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19,” reads a statement on his official Twitter feed March 22. “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.
Sen. Bill Cassidy
Cassidy, R-La., tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 20 after being exposed to an individual with the coronavirus, his office said. Cassidy, a gastroenterologist, said he would quarantine for 14 days and notify everyone who may have come into contact with him.
“I am strictly following the direction of our medical experts and strongly encourage others to do the same,” Cassidy said in a statement.
Rep. Dan Meuser
Meuser, R-Pa. announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 22. In a statement, he said he would be "taking all necessary actions, including postponing upcoming public events and working from home in quarantine until I receive a negative test result."
His wife tested negative, he said, and his grown children were not at home.
González-Colón, Puerto Rico's nonvoting member of Congress and a Republican, said she tested positive for COVID-19 in a Aug. 24 Facebook video. She said it had been a "mistake" for her to attend indoor campaign events with other Puerto Rican officials in the territory's primary. She was asymptomatic, she said, but would self-isolate for two weeks.
Members who tested positive for antibodies
Two members of Congress have said they tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, indicating that they previously had the virus. When the virus is contracted, the body's immune system works to defend itself by producing antibodies that fight off infection.
Antibody tests are not considered definitive indicators of whether someone can contract the virus again, and false-positive results are possible, according to the CDC. A USA TODAY review in May also found that the FDA list of authorized antibody test providers included some with dubious claims or backgrounds, leading to questions about their accuracy.
Sen. Tim Kaine
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., announced May 28 that both he and his wife had tested positive for antibodies, after he had experienced what he thought were flu symptoms in March. When his wife also developed symptoms, doctors told them they may have had mild forms of the coronavirus, he said in a statement.
"We were both at home in Richmond, working remotely and isolated from others," Kaine said. "Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free."
Kaine said they would continue to follow CDC guidelines to protect against the spread of the virus because of "uncertainty" over whether antibodies offer protection from future infection.
Sen. Bob Casey
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., said on May 29 that he had taken an antibody test that came back positive after experiencing a fever and flu-like symptoms earlier in the spring.
"This positive test means that I likely had COVID-19 at some point over the last several months and have since developed an antibody response to the virus," he said in a press release.
Casey said he self-quarantined and worked from home in Scranton, Penn., for two weeks after discussing his symptoms with his doctor and that he would be donating his plasma to help coronavirus patients.
Contributing: Christal Hayes, Jason Lalljee, USA TODAY; Ronald J. Hansen, Arizona Republic
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Which members of Congress have tested positive?