House GOP lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19

Rep. Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithGOP lawmakers press social media giants for data on impacts on children's mental health Lawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack House Republicans urge Democrats to call hearing with tech CEOs 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. 


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 CunninghamPediatrician unveils challenge to GOP's Mace in South Carolina 'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection Top cyber Pentagon official overseeing defense contractor project placed on leave MORE (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartAnother voice of reason retires Defense contractors ramp up donations to GOP election objectors Bottom line MORE (R-Fla.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Acting FTC chair urges Congress to revive agency authority after Supreme Court decision MORE (R-Fla.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyDeGette calls for 'lean and mean' health research agency to tackle diabetes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Democrats ask what went wrong on Election Day The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Political earthquake rocks Virginia; New Jersey too close to call MORE (R-Pa.) and Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceLIVE COVERAGE: Tax hikes take center stage in Ways and Means markup Republicans hit Biden over Afghanistan, with eye on midterms Biden says deadly attack won't alter US evacuation mission in Afghanistan MORE (R-S.C.), as well as Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' 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.


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 NadlerUnrequited rage: The demand for mob justice in the Rittenhouse trial Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal 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.