Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first member of Congress to contract the virus.
His office announced the news Wednesday night in press release and a tweet.
—Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) March 18, 2020
Diaz-Balart represents Florida’s 25th congressional district.
“In an abundance of caution, after votes on Friday, March 13th, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart decided to self-quarantine in Washington, DC, and not return to South Florida because of his wife Tia’s pre-existing conditions that put her at exceptionally high risk,” the statement said.
“On Saturday evening, Congressman Diaz-Balart developed symptoms, including a fever and a headache. Just a short while ago, he was notified that he has tested positive for COVID-19. While in quarantine Diaz-Balart has been working from his apartment in Washington, DC.”
In a statement of his own, Diaz-Balart told constituents that, “I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better.”
“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,” he said. “We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”
The congressman’s offices are currently closed and his staff will remain quarantined until further notice, press secretary Laura Hernandez told Insider.
Two congressional staffers have tested positive for the coronavirus so far, including an employee of Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, and a member of Rep. David Schweikert’s staff.
Several members of Congress have had to self-quarantine in recent weeks due to fears they were exposed to the virus after meeting with individuals who later tested positive for the coronavirus. Some of those members included Republicans Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, have had to self-quarantine as a precaution due to fears they were exposed to the virus.