House lawmakers return to chamber after brief self-quarantine

by | Mar 9, 2020

Five Florida House lawmakers who voluntarily left the chamber over fear that they may have come into contact with individuals infected with the coronavirus returned to the floor Monday.

Succumbing to the non-stop media hype about COVID-19, better known as coronavirus, the Florida House of Representatives went into temporary recess earlier today so that the five lawmakers could enter into what was described as “self-quarantine” over fears that the five had attended events in Washington D.C. where a guests at both conferences later tested positive for the virus.

The announcement brought today’s proceeding to a halt, prompting maintenance crews to clean and sanitize computers and desks in the chamber.

But after a quick scrub-down of the House floor, State Representative Cary Pigman, who is also an emergency medicine physician, addressed the non-quarantined assembled lawmakers and told them that their colleagues would be readmitted to the House floor because they did not meet the Centers for Disease Control‘s (CDC) minimum threshold for coronavirus threat. Pigman explained that none of the quarantined lawmakers had direct contact with the infected individuals in Washington D.C., and none of them had any actual symptoms.

“The risk remains low,” Pigman said. “I won’t say the risk is zero, but it’s low.”

The five representatives who returned to the House were Republicans Thad Altman, Cord Byrd, Byron Donalds, Anthony Sabatini and House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee. One staff member not named also self-quarantined.

Altman, Byrd and Sabatini attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) lsat month. Follwoing the event, one attendee was diagnosed with the virus.

Donalds and McGee attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, where three attendees were later tested positive for the virus.

House Speaker Jose Oliva said the House members did not come into “direct contact” with the infected individuals at the conferences, and it was determined none met federal guidelines that would require further testing.

Lawmakers in question received a round of applause upon their return.

Elsewhere, CNN reported that U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz entered into self-quarantine after riding Air Force One with President Donald Trump. Gaetz was a speaker at CPAC in Washington D.C. last week. The Capitolist could not independently confirm the report. Gaetz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

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