KEY POINTS

  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-FL, is the first member of the U.S. Congress confirmed with COVID-19
  • Rep. Ben McAdams, D-UT, became the second member of the U.S. Congress confirmed with COVID-19
  • Other members of the House may also test positive for  COVID-19

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart from Florida's 25th congressional district on Wednesday became the first member of the U.S. Congress confirmed with COVID-19. Democratic congressman Ben McAdams from Utah became the second COVID-19 positive lawmaker when he announced his condition shortly after Diaz-Balart made his revelation.

The House is currently in recess, a fact that will give the leadership of both the House and the Senate time to figure out how to respond to this new crisis that has the potential to shut down the legislative branch of government. It is possible both Diaz-Ballart and McAdams have spread the very contagious coronavirus to other people in Congress through their daily interactions with them.

Diaz-Balart confirmed he had tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, after manifesting the disease's symptoms on March 14.

"On Saturday evening, Congressman Diaz-Balart developed symptoms including a fever and headache," said Diaz-Balart's office in a statement. "Just a short while ago, he was notified that he has tested positive for COVID-19."

Diaz-Balart, 58, said he's "feeling much better" but urged the public to take the virus "extremely seriously." He said he's been in self-quarantine in his Washington, D.C., apartment since March 13.

He hasn't returned to Florida "out of an abundance of caution," due to the fact his wife, Tia, is a cancer and chronic lung disease survivor. Diaz-Ballart's office said these conditions "put her at exceptionally high risk" from an infection by COVID-19.

Mario Diaz-Balart Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Florida) originally voted in favor of the ban in 2014. In this photo: Diaz-Balart speaks as David J. Byrd (L), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Sylvia Thompson (R), an attorney from Brooklyn, New York, listen during a news conference with African American and Hispanic leaders to highlight the GOP's commitment to save and strengthen Social Security on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 21, 2005. Photo: Getty Images/ Joe Raedle

McAdams said despite testing positive, he's "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. I’m doing my part as all Americans are doing to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak.”

McAdams explained he developed cold-like symptoms after returning home to Utah from Washington on Saturday. He said he isolated himself in his home after consulting with his doctor.

“My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantined,” according to McAdams. “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.” McAdams’ office confirmed the test was positive.

Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, contacted his physician after being in contact with McAdams last week. He said he doesn't have any symptoms, but has reached out to his physician and is waiting to hear back on next steps.