Florida lawmakers cleared after consultation over COVID-19 exposure concerns

Out of an abundance of caution, members of the Florida House of Representatives were examined for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Speaker José Oliva tweeted on Monday. 

Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, Rep. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, and Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach, along with a staff member are being examined after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., where an attendee later tested positive. Rep. Kionne L. McGhee, D-Miami, and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples were also checked out after attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference after at least two attendees have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Oliva later tweeted that all members and staff were cleared after consultation with the Florida Department of Health and in accordance with protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Oliva said the tests were meant to set an example in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. The lawmakers and staff member were never symptomatic, he added, and none of them had direct contact with individuals who tested positive for the virus.

The lawmakers self-isolated for a short period before they were cleared by medical professionals.

The Florida House implemented sanitation protocols, including sanitizing desks and common areas to ensure members, staff, and the public are "provided reasonable assurance of cleanliness," according to Oliva. The House is also following all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and working closely with the Florida Department of Health.

Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on Sunday announced that he would self-quarantine after he shook hands with the person at CPAC who later tested positive for COVID-19.

"I’m not experiencing any symptoms, and I feel fine and healthy. Given that the interaction was 10 days ago, that the average incubation period is 5-6 days, that the interaction was for less than a minute, and that I have no current symptoms, the medical authorities have advised me that the odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low," he added in his statement.

This story was written out of Lake Mary, Florida.