Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) announced Wednesday that he is the first member of Congress to test positive for the Chinese coronavirus.
Díaz-Balart said he has remained in self-isolation at his Washington, D.C., apartment since March 13 and began to exhibit symptoms for the deadly illness over the weekend.
“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,” Díaz-Balart’s office said in a statement shared to Twitter. The statement said that the lawmaker did not return to Florida out of an “abundance of caution.”
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
“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Díaz-Balart said.
“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,” he added.
The development comes after President Donald Trump and several members of Congress tested negative for coronavirus. On Sunday evening, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tested negative for the disease and thanked well-wishers for their concerns.
“I was just informed by Dr. Moynihan, the head of the House Physicians Office, that my coronavirus test was NEGATIVE,” the South Carolina Republican said in a statement. “I’m very grateful and like everyone else will follow the best practices to stay negative.”
“I look forward to getting back to work with my Senate colleagues and President Trump to contain this virus and stabilize our economy,” he added. “Thank you very much for all the prayers and well wishes!”
Graham underwent testing after visiting Mar-a-Lago, where Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, who was infected with the illness, met with President Trump. Bolsonaro tested negative for the virus.