House Republican tests positive for COVID-19 a second time

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) announced Friday that she tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated and previously contracting the virus in 2020.

Hinson said that she “began experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms” Thursday afternoon and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. She is the latest lawmaker to test positive amid a surge in cases due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

The Iowa Republican voted on the House floor in person on Thursday morning against Democrats’ voting rights and federal election reforms package, which is being used as a legislative vehicle in the Senate for a fight over reforming the filibuster. Hinson said she is now isolating and working remotely from Washington.

“I am fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19,” Hinson tweeted. “I am isolating and following CDC guidance as well as the advice of the Attending Physician, and am currently working remotely in Washington, D.C. My team and I will continue working around the clock for Iowans and I look forward to being back at work, in-person, soon.”

It’s the second time that Hinson has tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. She ended up attending new member orientation remotely in late 2020, shortly after winning election to her competitive House seat, due to a positive coronavirus test.

Hinson is among at least 14 members of Congress — 13 in the House and one in the Senate — to disclose that they tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week alone. All but one of those lawmakers said that they were vaccinated.

Overall, there have been at least 50 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated members of Congress since last summer. More than half of those breakthrough cases have been since mid-December.

It’s not clear if Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who disclosed Tuesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, was inoculated or not. “Rep. Webster doesn’t discuss personal health decisions,” a Webster spokesperson said in response to a request for clarification from The Hill.

“Throughout the pandemic, he has encouraged constituents to consult with their healthcare providers, has provided information on vaccination and treatment locations across his district, and advocated for the federal government to provide states — particularly Florida — the allocations needed and not block their access to vaccines and life-saving treatments and therapies,” the spokesperson added.

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, House Democratic leaders stepped up pandemic precautions when the chamber returned to session this week for the first time since mid-December.

At the advice of the Capitol’s attending physician, Democratic leaders are urging everyone to wear more protective KN95 or N95 masks and avoid congregating in the House chamber.