Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart becomes first member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida has become the first member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus, he tweeted on Wednesday.

(CNN) -- Two members of Congress announced Wednesday evening that they have tested positive for coronavirus.

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida was the first member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus.

"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," his office said in a news release.

Diaz-Balart said in a statement that he is "feeling much better" but urged the public to take the virus "extremely seriously."

Shortly after Diaz-Balart's announcement, Rep. Ben McAdams of Utah tweeted that he has also tested positive for coronavirus. McAdams said he first felt symptoms on Saturday evening after returning from Washington, was tested on Tuesday and received the positive result today.

The unsettling development underscores the unique challenge facing lawmakers as they both grapple with how to contain the spread of coronavirus throughout the US and take steps to avoid spreading it within Congress.

Thus far, at least 14 other lawmakers have announced steps to self-quarantine or otherwise isolate themselves as a precaution after coming into contact with an infected individual.

The news could set off a new wave of self-quarantine measures from lawmakers that may have interacted with Diaz-Balart and McAdams.

CNN previously reported that a number of House and Senate offices have begun practicing how they would operate if a chunk of aides were forced into quarantine and had to work from home, according to congressional sources.

The announcement comes as the death toll from the virus continues to climb and state and local governments hand down more aggressive social-distancing requirements.

More than 8,500 Americans have been infected with coronavirus, and that number changes significantly by the hour.

News of Diaz-Balart's positive test also comes the same day a bipartisan group of House lawmakers sent a letter to congressional leadership requesting a rule change that would allow for remote voting during the pandemic.

"While Congress is an institution with a proud history, we cannot stand on tradition if it puts lives -- and our ability to be the voice of our constituents -- at risk," the letter says.

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