House GOP lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19

Rep. Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies Pelosi to require masks on House floor MORE (R-Va.) revealed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the ninth member of Congress with a confirmed or presumed case.

Griffith's office said in a statement that he took a coronavirus test over the weekend after "developing possible symptoms" and has since been self-isolating.

"Although he does not currently have significant symptoms, he will continue to self-isolate as he performs his duties on behalf of Virginia's Ninth Congressional District," the statement said. 

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Griffith's diagnosis comes five days after he participated in a press conference on Capitol Hill with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus to push for reopening schools in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic despite safety concerns from educators and some parents.

Griffith wore a mask for parts of the press conference, which was held outdoors, but took it off to speak before the cameras. 

"What happens when you don't go back to school? You have food insecurity. You have emotional problems that are not being addressed. There may be child abuse going on. Nobody's seeing it, nobody's paying attention. Parents are under a lot of stress. Kids may be left at home. Mom and Dad may have to go to work," Griffith said at the press conference. 

Seven other members of Congress have also tested positive for the coronavirus: Reps. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert MORE (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies House Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections MORE (R-Fla.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert MORE (R-Fla.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert MORE (R-Pa.) and Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor MORE (R-S.C.), as well as Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies After trillions in tax cuts for the rich, Republicans refuse to help struggling Americans MORE (R-Ky.).

An eighth lawmaker, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), said in late March that she had been diagnosed with a "presumed" coronavirus case after displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but was not officially tested.

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Most of the members of Congress who have contracted the coronavirus got sick during the early days of the pandemic in March and April when measures to close businesses and restrict crowds had only just taken effect.

Before Griffith's diagnosis on Tuesday, Rice last month was the latest lawmaker to reveal they had tested positive for COVID-19.  

Along with several other House Republicans, Rice had been spotted on the House floor in late May without wearing a mask. He maintained to CNN that "I'm socially distancing. I'm staying six feet away from folks."

House Democrats have since moved to require lawmakers to wear masks during in-person committee meetings, although a number of Republicans have resisted the policy. Some committee chairmen, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter MORE (D-N.Y.) and Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman James Clyburn (D-S.C.), made it a policy to not grant speaking time to any member not wearing a mask.