AG Bill Barr to get tested after Rep. Louie Gohmert contracts COVID-19
Attorney General William Barr will be tested for coronavirus after coming into contact with U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, who caught it.
WASHINGTON – At least thirty-five members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 or been diagnosed with the coronavirus as the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic.
Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician at the U.S. Capitol, has been working to identify any individuals who had contact with the members who tested positive, according to guidance from the Office of the Attending Physician sent by House officials to members.
Dozens of lawmakers have gone into self-quarantine after coming into contact or being in the vicinity of someone who has tested positive for the virus since March. Others have announced they have tested positive for antibodies to the virus, indicating they may have been previously infected.
Rep. Rick Allen
Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., said in a Nov. 24 statement he tested positive for COVID-19 after “undergoing regular COVID-19 testing.”
“I do not have any symptoms and will continue to work on behalf of the 12th District from home as I quarantine,” he said.
Rep. Joe Courtney
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said in a statement that he learned he had been exposed to the virus by someone who was unaware they were infected at the time.
“Upon learning of that initial exposure, I immediately began following the strict isolation guidelines laid out by the CDC and by my doctor while I waited to get a coronavirus test,” Courtney said in a statement. “After my first test came back negative, I continued to isolate but began to experience mild symptoms. I got another test and, this evening I was notified that the second test came back positive.”
Courtney said the experience reinforced his belief that “we’ve got to remain vigilant about wearing masks, social distancing, and the basic essentials like washing our hands frequently.”
Rep. Bryan Steil
Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wisc., said in a Nov. 22 statement he tested positive for COVID-19 after he began to experience mild symptoms.
He said he would begin “immediately quarantining” but plans to continue to work from home.
Sen. Rick Scott
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., announced Friday that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing “very mild symptoms.”
“After several negative tests, I learned I was positive for COVID-19 this AM,” Scott said in a tweet, adding that he was “feeling good.”
“I’ll be working from home until it’s safe for me to return to DC,” Scott tweeted. “I remind everyone to be careful & do the right things to protect yourselves & others.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., announced Wednesday he tested “recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms.”
Lamborn is “isolating at his home in Colorado Springs” a statement reads. “The Congressman will continue to work for the district from home and his staff will continue to provide the best of constituent services. He looks forward to resuming his normal schedule soon.”
Rep. Dan Newhouse
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., announced Wednesday that he tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday night.
“I began to feel a little run down yesterday, so I took a COVID-19 test,” Newhouse posted to Twitter when announcing his positive diagnosis. “My symptoms remain mild, and I am following CDC guidelines.”
“I am quarantining and will continue to serve the people of Central Washington from home.”
Rep. Ed Perlmutter
Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus the evening of Nov. 17.
“As of now, I am asymptomatic and I’m feeling good,” Perlmutter said in a written statement. “I am currently in Washington, D.C. and plan to isolate in my apartment while continuing to work and voting remotely.”
Perlmutter was last seen on Capitol Hill the day before he tested positive, according to C-SPAN.
“I’ve been taking precautions like so many Coloradans over the past eight months. … As we enter the holiday season, I encourage everyone to continue to heed the warnings of no personal gatherings, social distancing, and wearing a mask,” Perlmutter’s statement reads.
Sen. Chuck Grassley
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the oldest Republican currently serving in the Senate, announced he tested positive for the coronavirus the afternoon of Nov. 17.
“I’ve tested positive for coronavirus. I’ll b following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes + prayers &look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon,” Grassley wrote on Twitter.
Grassley, 87, had gone into quarantine and was tested that morning after learning he’d been exposed to the virus. That test came back positive.
Rep. Tim Walberg
Republican Tim Walberg, who has been a vocal critic of lockdowns nationally and in his home state of Michigan, announced that he’d tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 16.
“I received news yesterday that I tested positive for COVID-19. My symptoms are mild, and I remain in good spirits,” Walberg told The Detroit News.
“It has been more than a week since I have attended a public event. In conjunction with health officials, my office and I are in the process of reaching out to individuals I had contact with before my self-isolation began,” he said.
Walberg’s statement did not say when he began to self-isolate.
“My symptoms are mild, and I remain in good spirits,” he said.
Rep. Cheri Bustos
Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois said that she tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 16.
Bustos, who recently announced she would not seek reelection as chief of the House Democratic campaign arm, is quarantining after her positive test.
“I am experiencing mild symptoms, but still feel well,” the congresswoman tweeted. “I have been in contact with my medical provider and, per CDC guidance, am self-isolating.”
“We must all continue to be vigilant in following public health best practices,” Bustos cautioned. “Wear a mask, practice social distancing, get your flu shot and wash your hands.”
Rep. Don Young
Republican Don Young of Alaska announced on Nov. 12 he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Young, 87, is the longest-serving member of the House and is Alaska’s only Representative.
He tweeted he is “feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time.”
Rep. Michael Waltz
Florida Republican Rep. Michael Waltz announced on Nov. 6 he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I’ve purposefully tested every week, have now isolated, and reached out to people for notifications,” Waltz said in a statement released through campaign spokeswoman, Erin Isaac. “We are fortunate all of my staff or family are fine.”
Waltz said suspected he contracted COVID-19 in his district sometime while out and about meeting voters before the election, or with campaign workers on Election Day.
Rep. Drew Ferguson
Republican Drew Ferguson of Georgia’s third district announced a positive COVID test Oct. 30 after feeling “mild symptoms” and then a “slight fever.”
Ferguson said planned to work from home and self-quarantine.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp also announced Oct. 30 they would go in quarantine after coming into contact with a person who had tested positive for COVID-19. The statement released by Kemp’s office did not mention the name of the individual, but Kemp and Ferguson attended an event for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign together on Oct. 27.
Rep. Bill Huizenga
Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s second district announced he tested positive for COVID-19 using a rapid test on Oct. 14, ahead of a scheduled appearance with Vice President Mike Pence.
“Earlier today, I was expected to appear with the Vice President. While taking part in offsite testing protocols, I took a rapid test that came back positive for COVID-19. I am awaiting the results of a PCR test and I am self isolating until I have confirmed results,” Huizenga tweeted.
The congressman was expected at a campaign stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Pence held a rally. Huizenga’s rapid test showed a positive result days before President Donald Trump’s scheduled rally in his district.
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Rep. Mike Bost
Illinois Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican, said Oct. 9 he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 8 after experiencing a mild cough and a loss of taste and smell.
“Despite taking my temperature regularly and having no evidence of a fever, I experienced a mild cough and a rapid loss of both taste and smell and recognized it was important to get tested immediately,” he said.
Bost said he was postponing his public events, and all his staff who had been in close contact with him would quarantine until they were tested themselves.
Rep. Salud Carbajal
California Rep. Salud Carbajal, a Democrat, said Oct. 6 he tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.
“I hope this serves a reminder of how easily this virus can spread,” he said. “I followed every precaution, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand-washing and unfortunately was still exposed. It is incumbent on every single one of us to take careful precautions in order to protect the health and safety of those around us.”
Sen. Ron Johnson
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, was the third GOP senator to announce a positive test result for coronavirus since President Donald Trump announced he and first lady Melania Trump were infected with COVID-19.
“Senator Johnson feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms,” Johnson’s office said a statement. “He will remain isolated until given the all-clear by his doctor.”
Johnson’s office said he had been exposed to someone who tested positive on Sept. 14 and stayed in quarantine for 14 days. During that time, he tested negative. On Sept. 29, he returned to Washington where he came into contact with someone who had the virus. Johnson got tested again and the test came back positive, his office said.
Sen. Mike Lee
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, announced on Oct. 2 that he has tested positive for coronavirus and will remain on quarantine for the next 10 days. Lee’s announcement came hours after Trump’s announcement that he and the first lady had the coronavirus. Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisers with whom he had traveled recently, tested positive earlier.
Lee said he was experiencing symptoms consistent with allergies and tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after. Before he tested positive, Lee met with Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, and was seen in a picture standing next to the judge. Both aren’t wearing masks.
Sen. Thom Tillis
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, said on Oct. 2 that he has tested positive for coronavirus. Tillis said he isn’t experiencing symptoms and will isolate for 10 days.
Both Lee and Tillis were at an event at the Rose Garden earlier this week when Trump announced Barrett’s nomination. Attendees were seen sitting close to each other and not wearing masks.
Rep. Jahana Hayes
Rep. Jahana Hayes, a Democrat from Connecticut, announced on Sept. 20 she had COVID-19.
Hayes had posted a series of tweets that included a video of her getting tested. She noted that members of Congress have not been frequently tested for the virus.
She wrote, “Masks, social distancing & frequent floor cleanings are the precautions that are taken in the House. I have taken every possible precaution and still contracted coronavirus.”
González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member of Congress and a Republican, said she tested positive for COVID-19 in a Aug. 24 Facebook video. She said it had been a “mistake” for her to attend indoor campaign events with other Puerto Rican officials in the territory’s primary. She was asymptomatic, she said, but would self-isolate for two weeks.
Rep. Dan Meuser
Meuser, R-Pa. announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 22. In a statement, he said he would be “taking all necessary actions, including postponing upcoming public events and working from home in quarantine until I receive a negative test result.”
His wife tested negative, he said, and his grown children were not at home.
Sen. Bill Cassidy
Cassidy, R-La., tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 20 after being exposed to an individual with the coronavirus, his office said. Cassidy, a gastroenterologist, said he would quarantine for 14 days and notify everyone who may have come into contact with him.
“I am strictly following the direction of our medical experts and strongly encourage others to do the same,” Cassidy said in a statement.
Rep. Rodney Davis
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., announced he tested positive after regularly taking his temperature “because serving in Congress means I interact with many people, and it’s my duty to protect the health of those I serve.”
“This morning, my temperature clocked in at 99 degrees Fahrenheit, which is higher than normal for me,” he said Aug. 5. That led to him getting tested.
Davis did not say where he thinks he got the virus, saying that he and his staff “take COVID-19 very seriously.”
“My wife is a nurse and a cancer survivor, which puts her in an at-risk category like so many Americans,” Rodney continued, saying his wife’s test came back negative this morning. “My office and I have always followed and will continue to follow CDC guidelines, use social distancing, and wear masks or face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained.”
“Other than a higher-than-normal temperature, I am showing no symptoms at this time and feel fine,” Davis said.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., tested positive for COVID-19 after a week in Washington, D.C., that included a hearing with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who announced he had tested positive earlier the same week.
Grijalva said he was asymptomatic and in self-quarantine at his residence in the Washington area. It isn’t clear how Grijalva contracted the virus, but the House Natural Resources Committee hearing that included Gohmert is a possibility.
“While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some Members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously,” Grijalva said in a written statement Aug. 1. “Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, tested positive for COVID-19 on July 29 ahead of a scheduled trip with the president to Texas on Air Force One. He said he was not experiencing any symptoms, but was tested at the White House before the trip, and would be self-quarantining for 10 days per the advice of White House and Congress physicians.
Gohmert was seen around Capitol Hill without wearing a mask ahead of his diagnosis, but claimed he had worn one more often in the last two weeks “more than I have in the whole last four months.”
“I can’t help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, I might have put some germs — some virus — onto the mask and breathed it in,” Gohmert said in an interview with Texas station KETK.
The day before testing positive, Gohmert had participated in a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr.
Rep. Morgan Griffith
Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., announced July 14 that he tested positive for COVID-19. He said on Twitter that he has been self-isolating since noticing symptoms, which are currently not “significant.”
Griffith held a news conference July 9 with other members of the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative and libertarian sect of Congress, where they encouraged President Donald Trump and state officials to reopen schools across America in the fall for in-person instruction.
Rep. Tom Rice
Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., announced in a June 15 Facebook post that he, along with his wife and son had been infected.
“COVID-19 is a serious, sometimes deadly illness. We, however, have fared well,” Rice said.
“I was lucky, and it was not bad for me. I had a low fever and a mild cough,” he shared. “I never stopped eating or drinking or working or moving. The only bad thing is I have completely lost sense of taste and smell. CAN’T TASTE BACON!!!”
Rep. Neal Dunn
Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., announced April 9 he had a positive test for the coronavirus after visiting the emergency room “out of an abundance of caution” the evening of April 6. Dunn, 67, was not admitted to the hospital, but met the guidelines to receive testing.
Dunn’s office said he quarantined at home and expected “a full recovery soon.”
“He is keenly interested in new and faster testing to help everyone understand their risks … (and) reminds everyone that it is important for us all to stay home unless they are an essential employee or need essential items from stores or pharmacies,” his office said in a statement.
Rep. Nydia Velásquez
Rep. Nydia Velásquez, D-N.Y., announced March 30 that the Office of the Attending Physician had diagnosed her “with presumed coronavirus infection.”
Velásquez isolated herself at home and because her symptoms were mild, “neither COVID-19 laboratory testing nor a doctor’s visit was recommended.”
Rep. Mike Kelly
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., announced March 27 that he tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing flu-like symptoms earlier in the week.
Kelly said that he was tested “at the drive-through testing site” at a Butler, Pennsylvania, hospital.
“My symptoms remain mild, and I will serve the 16th district from home until I fully recover,” his statement said, adding that he was “not in Washington for the House vote on the third coronavirus relief package” but that he would have voted in favor of it.
Rep. Joe Cunningham
Cunningham, D-S.C., announced a positive test for the coronavirus on Friday, March 27.
“While I otherwise feel fine, since March 17th I have been unable to smell or taste, which I learned this week is a potential symptom of COVID-19,” he said in a statement. Cunningham said he was tested on Thursday after a remote consultation with a physician and received a positive result Friday.
“While my symptoms have begun to improve, I will remain at home until I know it is safe to leave self-quarantine,” Cunningham said in a statement, adding that he would continue to work remotely.
Cunningham said he had been in self-quarantine since March 19 after coming into contact with another member of Congress who tested positive.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., announced on March 18 that he tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first known member of Congress to contract the rapidly spreading virus.
Diaz-Balart, 58, who represents parts of Miami and South Florida, said in a statement that he decided to self-quarantine in Washington Friday night after voting with hundreds of his colleagues on the House floor for a coronavirus relief package. He said he decided to stay in Washington because his wife has pre-existing conditions, and thus is more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus.
Diaz-Balart said that the following day, he started to show symptoms that included a fever and headache. He was notified on Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus. In the statement, Diaz-Balart did not indicate where he may have contracted the illness, nor why he decided to self-quarantine.
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“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” Diaz-Balart said in a statement. “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.”
‘Abundance of caution’: Several lawmakers self-quarantine out of fear of contact with coronavirus
Rep. Ben McAdams
McAdams, D-Utah, said he started developing mild symptoms Saturday, March 21, after returning from Washington, D.C., and immediately began isolating himself after consultation with his doctor.
“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,” he said in a statement. “Today I learned that I tested positive.
“I Urge Utahns to take this seriously and follow the health recommendations we’re getting from the CDC and other health experts so that we can recover from this public threat,” said McAdams, 45.
Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus and was quarantining, his office announced Sunday, March 22. Paul said in an update on April 7 he had been retested with a negative result and started volunteering at a local hospital.
“Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19,” reads a statement on his official Twitter feed March 22. “He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.
“He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul.”
The statement did not say when Paul tested positive, nor when he might have contracted the illness, but his infection could mean several more lawmakers were exposed.
Members who tested positive for antibodies
Two members of Congress have said they tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, indicating that they previously had the virus. When the virus is contracted, the body’s immune system works to defend itself by producing antibodies that fight off infection.
Antibody tests are not considered definitive indicators of whether someone can contract the virus again, and false-positive results are possible, according to the CDC. A USA TODAY review in May also found that the FDA list of authorized antibody test providers included some with dubious claims or backgrounds, leading to questions about their accuracy.
Rep. Matt Gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida and close ally of President Donald Trump, said he tested positive for the virus antibodies on Nov. 3, Election Day.
Gaetz told USA TODAY he had tested “positive for antibodies” though not the live virus.
In a series of texts, Gaetz wrote that he has “no symptoms.” He said he has no plans to quarantine and does not know where he picked up the antibodies.
Sen. Tim Kaine
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., announced May 28 that both he and his wife had tested positive for antibodies, after he had experienced what he thought were flu symptoms in March. When his wife also developed symptoms, doctors told them they may have had mild forms of the coronavirus, he said in a statement.
“We were both at home in Richmond, working remotely and isolated from others,” Kaine said. “Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free.”
Kaine said they would continue to follow CDC guidelines to protect against the spread of the virus because of “uncertainty” over whether antibodies offer protection from future infection.
Sen. Bob Casey
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., said on May 29 that he had taken an antibody test that came back positive after experiencing a fever and flu-like symptoms earlier in the spring.
“This positive test means that I likely had COVID-19 at some point over the last several months and have since developed an antibody response to the virus,” he said in a press release.
Casey said he self-quarantined and worked from home in Scranton, Penn., for two weeks after discussing his symptoms with his doctor and that he would be donating his plasma to help coronavirus patients.
Contributing: John Fritze, Christal Hayes, Jason Lalljee, Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY; Ronald J. Hansen, Arizona Republic; Rana Cash, Savannah Morning News