Coronavirus update: First members of US Congress test positive for deadly virus

Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams have become the first members of Congress to test positive. Mr Diaz-Balart’s office said on Wednesday: “On Saturday evening, Congressman Diaz-Balart developed symptoms including a fever and headache.

“Just a short while ago, he was notified that he has tested positive for COVID-19.”

The Florida Republican said that he is “feeling much better” but also urged the public to take the virus “extremely seriously”.

He said: “We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”

The statement did not explain how Mr Diaz-Balart may have contracted the virus.

He is the first US lawmaker to announce a positive test.

Later on Wednesday evening, Mr McAdams, a Utah Democrat said he had been diagnosed as well.

He said in a statement on Twitter: “Today I learned that I tested positive.

“I am still working for Utahns and pursuing efforts to get Utahns the resources they need as I continue doing my job from home until I know it is safe to end my self-quarantine.”

The development presents the unique challenge facing lawmakers as they both grapple with how to contain the spread of the virus across the US.

A Republican Aide told CNN that the Capitol doctor is in contact with other members who might have been exposed to the two Congressmen.

The aide said: “He works with members that are getting tested … and he consults with (the members) to map who (they) came into contact with.

“He then reaches out to them and advises self-quarantine.”

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According to CNN, the Office of the Attending Physician told other lawmakers that the office is “carefully monitoring” MrDiaz-Balart and Mr McAdams’ cases.

Both men have been described as being in “good condition.”

The letter said: “The office has adopted a very conservative guideline to identify individuals who may have come into contact with the ill Members during the pre-symptomatic period of March 13.

“The office has additionally reviewed possible exposures among staff members and has assessed other areas involving the calendars of the affected individuals.

“The Office of Attending Physician has identified the offices and locations that were found to be at risk and these have been treated by the Architect of the Capitol, using CDC approved cleaning methods to ensure there is no residual risk to others.”

As of Wednesday, more than 8,500 Americans have been infected with coronavirus, and the number is rising significantly by the hour.

The death toll in the US is currently at 140, with states ordering more shutdowns.

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