U.S. Rep. Jahanna Hayes get a drive-through COVID test. Hayes post on Twitter

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, announced Sunday she has contracted COVID-19, one day after entering a 14-day quarantine necessitated by a staffer’s positive test.

Hayes, whose district covers a large area of northwestern Connecticut, is the first member of Connecticut’s delegation to test positive for COVID. Hayes said she had been working in close contact with a staffer who recently tested positive for the disease.

This morning I received a positive COVID-19 test result and will be quarantined for the 14 days.

After going to 2 urgent care centers yesterday, I finally got an appointment at a 3rd site and was tested this morning. pic.twitter.com/Yiw9yNLglU

— Jahana Hayes (@RepJahanaHayes) September 20, 2020

It is unclear whether the infected staffer worked in her Capitol Hill office or in her district office in Waterbury.

In a statement released Sunday morning and posted on Twitter, Hayes described the process she went through to obtain the test and said her experience underscores the need for a more coherent national testing strategy.

“After going to two urgent care centers yesterday, I finally got an appointment at a third site and was tested this morning. Contrary to popular belief, Members of Congress do not get tested regularly. In fact we are not mass tested at all in DC.,” Hayes said. “Masks, social distancing and frequent floor cleanings are the precautions that are taken in the House. I have taken every possible precaution and still contracted the coronavirus.

“My experience and the experience of my staff underscores the need for a national testing strategy with a coherent way to receive speedy, accurate results. This level of anxiety and uncertainty is untenable. I am asymptomatic, except for breathing issues which are being monitored. Please keep my family and my staff in your prayers.”

Her announcement on Twitter included a video of the congresswoman having a nasal swab at the drive-up testing location.

Staffers at Hayes’ offices in Washington D.C. and the district will work remotely “until further notice.”

This is the second time Hayes has announced she has quarantined herself because of the pandemic.

The first time was in April when her husband, Milford Hayes, a Waterbury police officer, tested positive for COVID-19 at his workplace.

Hayes is at least the 15th House member reported to have tested positive for COVID-19, and two U.S. senators have. Many more federal lawmakers have entered quarantine because of exposure to other infect people.

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Elizabeth HamiltonExecutive Editor

Elizabeth Hamilton joined CT Mirror as Executive Editor in 2018. She is a 20-year veteran of Connecticut newsrooms, including more than a decade at The Hartford Courant where she was Reporter of the Year in 2000 and where she won the newspaper’s prestigious Theodore Driscoll Investigative Award for a series of stories about deaths in group homes for the developmentally disabled. Elizabeth has a degree in history from the University of Connecticut and an MFA from Southern Connecticut State University, where she also teaches writing as an adjunct professor.

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