Rep. Vern Buchanan has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
The Longboat Key Republican issued a statement Monday reminding the public to remain vigilant about the coronavirus.
“I look forward to returning to work as soon as possible,” Buchanan said.
“In the meantime, this should serve as a reminder that although the vaccines provide a very high-degree of protection, we must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.”
Buchanan’s office said the Congressman has been vaccinated since the vaccine was first made available to him earlier this year. But there have been an increasing number of infections reported for vaccinated people as the delta variant of the virus spreads.
About a fifth of positive tests for COVID-19 last week originated in Florida, which is seeing a surge similar to last year’s summer spike.
Of note, Buchanan’s office has been touched by the pandemic before. Gary Tibbetts, Buchanan’s field representative in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, died last July after contracting the virus.
Tibbetts, 66, was the first Congressional staffer in the country to die from COVID-19. He had worked in Congress since 2008 and as a special assistant to Buchanan beginning in 2010.
The first known case of a patient testing positive for COVID-19 in Florida was one of Buchanan’s constituents, a Bradenton resident treated at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.
At least 71 members of Congress have previously tested positive for COVID-19, according to GovTrack. The first was Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Hialeah Republican, and since that time, Florida Sen. Rick Scott and U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Neal Dunn and Mike Waltz have tested positive.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, tested positive for antibodies.
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican, tested positive before his election to the House in November. New U.S. Reps. Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar, tested positive after their election in November, but before being sworn in to the House.