House

Florida Republican becomes sixth member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus

Greg Nash

Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) said Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the sixth member of Congress confirmed to have the disease.

Dunn’s office said in a statement that he went to the emergency room on Monday not feeling well and later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Dunn, a former surgeon, is now self-quarantining at home and “expects a full recovery soon.”

“Congressman Dunn emphasizes that we must continue to do what we can to target vulnerable places and populations to slow the spread of this disease. He is keenly interested in new and faster testing to help everyone understand their risks,” the statement added, according to WCTV.

Five other members of Congress have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks, and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) said she did not get officially tested but is “presumed” to have contracted the virus after showing mild symptoms.

Most of the lawmakers who have fallen ill have reported progress in recent days. Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) announced this week that he was virus-free, as did Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an ophthalmologist who is now volunteering at a local hospital.

The other lawmakers who said they tested positive were Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).

The number of coronavirus cases among members of Congress has heightened fears of lawmakers traveling to and congregating in the Capitol to vote on legislation when doing so could risk exposing themselves and others to the virus.

Members of both parties have called for establishing a virtual voting system similar to ones used by legislatures in some states and other countries so that lawmakers can cast votes on bills from their districts, instead of turning to processes like voice votes or unanimous consent that only require a handful of people in the chamber.

But House and Senate leaders say that’s easier said than done.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that there are logistical and security concerns about using technology to vote remotely.

“There are some technologies that you might think would be workable, but they might not be secure,” Pelosi told reporters.

At the same time, Pelosi acknowledged, “I’ll be very frank with you: We don’t want anybody coming back at any time that might not be healthy for them.”

Tags Coronavirus Joe Cunningham Legislatures Mario Diaz-Balart Mike Kelly Nancy Pelosi Neal Dunn Nydia Velazquez Rand Paul

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