Rep. Tom Cole addressing the National Congress of American Indians at Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. in February 2019. Native News Online photograph by Levi Rickert

MOORE, Okla. After discovering a fellow member of Congress tested positive for COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) decided to go into self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Cole is one of four American Indians who serve in the 116th Congress. Cole is a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, based in Ada, Okla.

In a statement, Cole said:

“On Wednesday evening, I was informed by the Attending Physician of Congress that my friend, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, has tested positive for COVID-19. While I have no symptoms and feel fine, I was around him for an extended period last week. Out of an abundance of caution, I am following the doctor’s instructions to self-quarantine until March 27.

“During this time, I remain fully engaged in the U.S. response to this coronavirus, and operations in my offices continue. As Congress considers the next steps for legislation to help the American people during this crisis, I encourage all Oklahomans and Americans to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. For the health and safety of us all, continue taking seriously the precautions outlined by the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and the guidance of our local and state leaders and health authorities. Remain vigilant in washing your hands, disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, cover your mouth when you cough, stay home and away from others when you’re sick and avoid groups of more than 10 people. We can and will get through this together.”

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. 
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff