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Davis Quarantines At Home After Testing Positive For COVID-19

On a photo posted Monday on his congressional office Facebook Page, U.S. Representative Rodney Davis meets with constituents at an Open Office Hours session in Mount Zion, prior to testing positive for COVID-19. Since then, Open Office Hours sessions have been held via video-conference.

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is quarantining at his home in Taylorville, after testing positive on Wednesday for COVID-19.

The 13th District lawmaker says he feels fine, and that even the elevated temperature that led him and his wife Shannon to get a coronavirus test has gone back down. (Davis says his wife’s test came back negative).

But the Republican congressman is avoiding contact with others, to prevent spreading the virus further. That includes limiting what he does at home, especially since his wife, a cancer survivor, faces a greater risk from COVID-19.

“The things you took for granted, like being able to go refill your dog’s food bag, now become issues that I have to have somebody else go do it,” Davis says. “I clearly wasn’t prepared for quarantine. And I don’t think anybody is.”

Davis says Dr. Brian Monahan, the U.S. House attending physician, told him his infection most likely happened on Monday or Tuesday, August 3 or 4. On those days, his Facebook page showed him holding “open office hours” sessions with constituents in Mount Zion, Monticello and Tolono, and touring the Clarkson Grain Company facilities in Cerro Gordo. But Davis says he followed all the protocols for avoiding the coronavirus.

“We followed all the proper protocols, all of the guidelines of wearing masks, having hand sanitizer, social distancing. (We) did everything we thought we needed to do to avoid catching this disease,” says Davis. “But obviously, during those two days I must have made a mistake somewhere, because I ended up picking up the disease.”

Davis also speculated that there might be a “scientific divide” on the best steps to take to guard against COVID-19, and that standard precautions may not provide 100% protection.

Nevertheless, Davis has been calling for people to follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“If you’re out in public, use social distancing,” said Davis in a statement on Wednesday, announcing he had tested positive for COVID-19, “and when you can’t social distance, please wear a mask.”

Davis continued his open office hours on Friday in Hillsboro, Rochester and Sorento. But the sessions were moved online. Davis’ Facebook posting for the Hillsboro session showed a constituent seeing the congressman on a laptop screen instead of in-person.

Davis is running for a fifth term representing Illinois’ 13th District in the U.S. House. He and his Democratic opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield, have both made healthcare major parts of their election campaigns.

Davis has blamed the Affordable Healthcare Act for rising insurance premiums and voted for its repeal, while supporting Republican proposals for replacement legislation. Dirksen Londrigan defends the ACA and says she supports the public option, that is, a government insurance agency that would compete with private health insurance.

After Davis announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus, Dirksen Londrigan limited her comments to a tweet that she was “wishing Rep. Davis and his family well as he recovers from COVID-19 and hope his family members continue to stay healthy.”

Picture of Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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