COVID-19 cases have been surging across the country and now another member of Congress has reportedly tested positive for the virus.
Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) announced his diagnosis with a statement released Sunday on social media, The Daily Caller reported.
“After working in Washington, D.C. all of last week, I began experiencing mild symptoms this weekend and contacted my health care provider while at home in Janesville,” the congressman said in the statement.
“I took a COVID-19 test today and the test results came back positive,” Steil added. “Following CDC guidelines, I am immediately quarantining and will continue serving the people of Southeast Wisconsin from my home in Janesville.”
— Bryan Steil (@RepBryanSteil) November 23, 2020
Steil was first elected in 2018 to represent Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District — the seat vacated by the retirement of former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) — and just won reelection to a second term in the election a few weeks ago, The Associated Press reported. His district in the southeast corner of the state includes parts of Milwaukee County as well as the counties of Kenosha, Racine, Rock, Walworth and Waukesha.
COVID in Congress
Steil’s positive diagnosis for the COVID-19 makes him the 25th elected member of Congress to have tested positive — or was presumed to have been positive — for the virus since the pandemic first swept across the nation in March, NPR reported.
In addition to those elected members of the House and Senate, at least 150 aides, staffers and workers on Capitol Hill have also reportedly tested positive or been presumed positive over the same time frame.
Sadly, there was one staffer who died of the disease, Gary Tibbetts, a long-serving aide to Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) who passed away on July 24.
Mitigation in D.C.
NPR noted that in addition to social distancing guidelines and masking requirements, as well as proxy voting in the House, Capitol Hill has been essentially closed to the public.
Recently, Congress began to implement a new testing procedure that aims to conduct upward of 2,000 tests per day, but given that there are 530 elected lawmakers and more than 20,000 staffers and workers on Capitol Hill, it is likely that some who are carrying the virus will go undetected.
Hopefully, Congressman Steil will recover quickly from the virus and be able to return to work in Washington, D.C. in the near future.