Rep. Don Beyer to self-quarantine after contact with friend who tested positive for coronavirus

Rep. Don Beyer to self-quarantine after contact with friend who tested positive for coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Tuesday he will self-quarantine after he and his wife interacted with a friend who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Beyer said the Virginia Department of Health told him that the friend’s infection began shortly after their contact on Feb. 28 and that his chance of having the virus is low. His office will be closed for almost a week.

“At the request of the public health officials, I will self-quarantine to ensure that I do not pass on any potential illness to others. In the 10 days since that dinner neither of us has shown symptoms, and we understand that the probability that we have an infection is low,” Beyer said in a statement. 

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“My office will close for public business and I will not attend votes or hearings until Monday, when medical advisers say I should be clear to return," he added. 

Beyer said he was disappointed to be away from the Capitol as Congress hammers out a plan to grapple with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak but that he felt compelled to follow the advice of health officials.

“Representing Northern Virginians is an honor and privilege which I love, and I especially hate to be away from the Capitol at this time of national crisis,” he said. “But I feel strongly that one of the most important contributions people in positions of leadership can make at such times is to share the best advice from experts, and where necessary, to model it in our behavior.” 

Beyer is the latest in a string of lawmakers who have announced they will self-quarantine. Among those who are closing their offices are Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report Support for Abbott plunging in Texas: poll White House debates vaccines for air travel MORE (R-Texas) and Reps. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor MORE (R-Ga.), Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzRepublicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Washington ramps up security ahead of Sept. 18 rally Police brace for Capitol rally defending Jan. 6 mob MORE (R-Fla.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarDomestic extremists return to the Capitol Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Washington ramps up security ahead of Sept. 18 rally MORE (R-Ariz.) and Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE (R-N.C.), all of whom interacted with a person who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and later tested positive for coronavirus.

Rep. Julia BrownleyJulia Andrews BrownleyCongress can make progress on fighting emissions with Zero Food Waste Act House passes veterans contraception, LGBTQ business bills previously blocked by GOP Overnight Defense: Tucker Carlson comments cause military rage | Capitol guard duty questioned | Vet who served in Marine One unit charged in insurrection MORE (D-Calif.) also said Monday that an individual she met with in Washington, D.C., tested positive for the coronavirus and that she and some of her staff would self-quarantine out of “abundance of absolute caution.”

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The growing list has led to calls on Capitol Hill that lawmakers should leave Washington and return home to the safety of their districts, though Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Of partisan fights and follies, or why Democrats should follow Manchin, not Sanders MORE (D-Calif.) shot down the idea.

“We are the captains of the ship. We are the last to leave,” she told her caucus in a closed-door meeting. 

Observers have speculated that lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who skews older, could be particularly at risk from the coronavirus. Two-thirds of senators are older than 60, and the average age of House members is 57.6 years.