Rep. Shevrin Jones says he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus as it continues to spread across South Florida.
“For those who think it’s a game, it’s not, I have tested positive for [COVID-19],” Jones posted late Wednesday. “I feel awful, and I don’t wish this on anyone.”
Jones’ House District 101 covers southern portions of Broward County near the Miami-Dade border including West Park, Pembroke Park, and Hallandale Beach. South Florida has been a hotspot for the virus and has seen surges in the spread in recent weeks.
In an interview with Florida Politics, a hoarse Jones described when he first started feeling the virus’ effects.
“Last Friday, I started feeling exhausted,” Jones explained. “I just could not shake this tiredness off of me. And then Sunday, I just felt awful. I had the chills really bad into the night, I was sweating all night.”
Jones said the symptoms worsened on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t breathe. So I went to the hospital on Tuesday and that’s when I got tested.”
Those results came back late Wednesday afternoon, adding Jones to the list of more than 16,000 Broward County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Jones — who is in the middle of a competitive Democratic primary in Senate District 35 — said he didn’t immediately think his symptoms were a sign of COVID-19. That changed when his cough worsened Wednesday morning.
“It’s excruciating pain when I cough. And so that’s when I said to myself, ‘I have to have something. This is more than just a cold.'”
While the 36-year-old Jones is feeling the brunt of the virus’ impact, he said he’s concerned more for his parents, who he interacted with just days ago. Jones’ father is 74 while his mom is 71.
“I just called and told my parents they have to get tested,” Jones said.
“That’s what I’m more concerned about, because I was around my mom and my dad this weekend.”
Older populations and those who are immunocompromised are more susceptible to the most serious effects of COVID-19.
Asked whether he had been around any large crowds or groups, Jones said he can’t pinpoint where he may have contracted the virus.
“I don’t know where I could’ve been or who I was around, because no one who I was around seemed to have it,” Jones said.
“I don’t know whether I caught it from the store going to get groceries. I’m not shaking anyone’s hand or any of that stuff. So I don’t know.”
Other officials throughout the state — such as U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Stephanie Murphy, and state Rep. Mike Caruso — have also self-quarantined at various points after feeling ill or interacting with individuals who later tested positive for COVID-19. Those lawmakers all eventually tested negative.