Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) announced Wednesday that he tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
The congressman announced on Thursday he would self-quarantine after coming in contact with a colleague who tested positive for the virus.
“I am thankful to report that I have taken the COVID-19 test and the results were negative,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “While I have tested negative, I will continue to follow the advice of medical experts and maintain social distancing practices as I work on behalf of the 15th District of Texas. I implore any person who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to consult a physician and do the right thing for the greater good of their community and country.”
Though he claimed he was asymptomatic, Gonzalez was still able to obtain a test for COVID-19 despite public health officials noting that those without symptoms should not obtain tests due to a scarcity of those resources. The same was the case of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who tested positive for the virus last week.
The news about Gonzalez’s health status comes as discussions about remote voting have circulated due to concerns that lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are at increased risk to contract the virus congregating in an enclosed space to decide on legislation. Gonzalez himself has been a proponent of remote voting since before he announced he was exposed to the virus.
“Our ability to debate and pass critical legislation in a time of crisis should not be hamstrung by an archaic voting system,” Gonzalez wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week.
“Our constituents expect us to be able to do our jobs and we should not be limited by geography or quarantines. We need remote voting now, and I urge Speaker Pelosi and House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern to implement this much-needed system expeditiously.”