Updated Mar 19, 2020 - Health

First Congress members test positive for coronavirus

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart speaks during a news conference in February. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) tweeted Wednesday night that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus — hours after Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) announced his results came back positive.

Why it matters: Diaz-Balart and McAdams are the first members of Congress to announce that they have tested positive for the virus, which has infected more than 9,400 people in the U.S. as of early Thursday.

The big picture: Several Congress members said this month they had placed themselves in isolation for 14 days after coming into contact with someone at CPAC 2020 who tested positive for the virus.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said they were doing so as a precaution despite showing no symptoms.
  • Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said in a statement on Tuesday last week that he would self-quarantine following "a positive test for COVID-19 by a friend in Washington, D.C., with whom he recently interacted" despite showing no symptoms.
  • Last Wednesday, it was confirmed that a Washington, D.C., staffer of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) had tested positive for COVID-19.

Go deeper: Lawmakers self-quarantine after contact with confirmed coronavirus cases

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Sen. Maria Cantwell staffer tests positive for the coronavirus

Sen. Maria Cantwell at the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A staffer in the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is in insolation after displaying symptoms of the novel coronavirus for which they subsequently tested positive, a statement released Wednesday night confirms. The office is now serving constituents remotely.

Why it matters: This is the first known case of a congressional staffer becoming infected with the virus. "The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 has had no known contact with the senator or other members of Congress," the statement notes. "The senator is requesting that testing be done on any other staffers who have been in contact with the individual and show symptoms."

Go deeper: Lawmakers self-quarantine after contact with confirmed coronavirus cases

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the case.

Congressman with coronavirus raises constitutional issues on remote voting

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart during a news conference in February. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) told NBC Saturday the novel coronavirus is a "tricky bug because just when I thought I was over it or I was pretty close to getting over it, the fever will come back."

Details: The first congress member to announce a positive test result for COVID-19 told "Nightly News" journalist Jose Diaz-Balart, who is his brother, that he's feeling better and believes "the worst part is passed." He also addressed the push for Congress members to vote remotely in light of many being older than 65 and some having pre-existing conditions.

Coronavirus hits Congress

A lone Capitol police officer in an empty corridor of Congress. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

More than a dozen lawmakers have entered voluntary self-quarantine, and more are expected to — seriously testing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proclamation last week that Congress will be "the last to leave."

Why it matters: The Senate is racing to negotiate a "Phase 3" coronavirus relief package that could top $1 trillion.