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Utah Rep. Ben McAdams tests positive for coronavirus

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Rep. Ben McAdams prepares to speak about the impeachment inquiry following a town hall on aging adult and senior issues at the Midvale Senior Center in Midvale, Utah, on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

Colter Peterson, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Rep. Ben McAdams has tested positive for the coronavirus and is isolating himself at home after returning from Washington, D.C., this past weekend.

McAdams said in a statement that he developed mild cold-like symptoms on Saturday evening. After talking to his doctor on Sunday, he immediately isolated himself at his house.

“My symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing and I remained self-quarantined. On Tuesday, my doctor instructed me to get tested for COVID-19 and following his referral, I went to the local testing clinic for the test. Today I learned that I tested positive,” McAdams said.

At least two members of Congress have now tested positive for COVID-19. Rep. Marco Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., also had a positive test Wednesday.

“I don’t know where I got it from,” McAdams told KSL Newsradios’s Doug Wright Wednesday evening. “Even though I was following all of the recommendations, I was still exposed to it. It just highlights how important it is to take this seriously.”

McAdams, 45, said he’s been on multiple airplanes and met with people in his office the past two weeks, noting it can take that amount of time from exposure to having symptoms.

He said he initially had a 100-degree temperature and some body aches that his doctor told him didn’t justify a coronavirus test. But he said he had a bad night Monday when his temperature went up to 103 degrees, and he experienced labored breathing and tightness in his lungs.

“It feels like a really bad cold for me,” McAdams said, describing himself as “relatively young and relatively healthy.”

McAdams, a first-term Democrat, said he has been conducting all of his meetings by telephone. He said he’s pursuing efforts to get Utahns the resources they need as he does his job from home until it is safe to end his self-quarantine.

“I’m doing my part as all Americans are doing to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the coronavirus outbreak,” McAdams said. “I urge Utahns to take this seriously and follow the health recommendations we’re getting from the CDC and other health experts so that we can recover from this public health threat.”

Politicians and others on both sides of the political aisle wished McAdams a quick recovery on social media.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, offered “prayers and hearty well wishes to my friend” in a Twitter post.

“His work from his bed at home on behalf of his district, state and country is laudable, selfless and greatly appreciated,” he tweeted.

Utah House Rep. Kim Coleman, who is among the Republicans challenging McAdams in the 4th Congressional District, expressed shock about McAdams being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Such news puts politics in its proper, lesser light. We thank Ben for his service and are pulling for his complete and speedy recuperation,” she tweeted.

Earlier Wednesday, Diaz-Balart said he developed symptoms last Saturday, including a fever and a headache. Just a short while ago, he was notified that he has tested positive for COVID-19, according to his office. While in quarantine Diaz-Balart has been working from his apartment in Washington.

“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better. However, it is important that everyone take this extremely seriously and follow CDC guidelines in order to avoid getting sick and mitigate the spread of this virus,” he said in a statement. “We must continue to work together to emerge stronger as a country during these trying times.”