Florida GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan announced Monday he's tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, his office said Buchanan has been fully vaccinated since earlier this year.
"Buchanan was tested after experiencing very mild flu-like symptoms and is quarantining at home in accordance with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines to ensure the health of his colleagues and staff," the statement said.
The CDC says breakthrough cases happen in a small percentage of vaccinated people.
"I look forward to returning to work as soon as possible," Buchanan said in the statement. "In the meantime, this should serve as a reminder that although the vaccines provide a very high degree of protection, we must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19."
About a fifth of positive tests for COVID-19 last week originated in Florida, which is seeing a surge similar to the 2020 summer spike, Florida Politics reported.
The news outlet noted Buchanan’s office has previously been affected by the pandemic, with the lawmaker’s field representative, Gary Tibbetts, 66, dying last July after contracting the virus.
Tibbetts was the first Congressional staffer in the country to die from COVID-19, Florida politics reported. He had worked in Congress since 2008 and as a special assistant to Buchanan beginning in 2010.
According to a Florida Politics report in March 2020, the first known person testing positive for the virus in March 2020 was one of the lawmaker’s constituents, a Bradenton, Florida, resident treated at a hospital in Sarasota.
At least 71 members of Congress have previously tested positive for COVID-19, according to GovTrack. The first congressman was Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Florida Politicis reported. Since that time, Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott, and Florida GOP Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Neal Dunn, and Mike Waltz have also tested positive, the news outlet reported.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., tested positive for antibodies, the news outlet reported.
Also, GOP Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida tested positive before his election to the House in November. Newly elected Republican Reps. Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar tested positive after their election in November, but before being sworn in to the House, the news outlet reported.
According to a CNN survey, at least 44.8% of GOP House members and at least 92% of GOP senators have been vaccinated as of mid-May.
Democrat lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have a 100% vaccination rate against COVID-19, CNN reported at the time.
Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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