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UPDATE: Athens Congressman Jody Hice Tests Negative for Coronavirus

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, a Lake Oconee Republican who represents most of Athens, is in self-quarantine for 14 days after being exposed to Rep. Louie Gohmert and another person with COVID-19 symptoms.

Gohmert, a Texas Republican who has refused to wear a mask during the pandemic, tested positive Wednesday before a scheduled flight with President Donald Trump.

“I strongly believe it is important for Congress to fully get back to work—and that requires us as individuals to be responsible and take appropriate actions when necessary, as I believe it is now,” Hice said in a news release. “I’m feeling fine and I haven’t experienced any symptoms but, after consulting with medical professionals, I will be taking precautionary steps to work remotely and social distance from folks for the next two weeks. I wish everyone a speedy recovery, and I look forward to seeing them in person in 15 days.”

Staff members are also working remotely under the presumption that they’ve been exposed, according to the news release.

Hice has criticized congressional Democrats for using the pandemic to “push their socialist vision” and called public health experts who urged sheltering in place “wildly off the mark.”

More than 4.6 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S., killing 155,000 people.

UPDATE: On Aug. 4, six days after entering quarantine, Hice announced that he has tested negative and was cleared by a physician to return to work.

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