Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has tested positive for the coronavirus, he announced Saturday.
“Yesterday, I tested positive for COVID-19. I will be responsible & self-quarantine, away from my family, for the recommended time,” Correa tweeted. “While I’ll miss the much-anticipated inauguration of President-elect @JoeBiden, I look forward to working with the new Admin to unite our country!”
The 62-year-old is one of several members of Congress to test positive for COVID-19 since they were caught up in the siege of the Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump on Jan. 6. The crowd was upset over Congress’ plans to certify November’s election results that officially made Joe Biden the next president.
One day later, Correa was verbally accosted by a smaller group of Trump supporters at Dulles International Airport near the capital, in an incident that was captured on cellphone video. Some of those people got right up in Correa’s face to yell at him without wearing masks. It is unclear if either incident was responsible for the congressman’s infection.
Correa’s office said he tested positive Friday after returning from Washington, D.C. They added that he had received a single dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 19. Full vaccination with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines requires two shots, administered about three or four weeks apart.
“During the Capitol attack, Congressman Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his colleagues, instead opting to stay outside to assist Capitol Police,” his office said Saturday.
Correa told City News Service the day of the siege that the ordeal was like “just like a movie.”
He said he dropped off his family that Wednesday morning at the airport in Baltimore and took a train to the Capitol.
“There must have been 60 to 70 (President Donald) Trump supporters on that train,” he said. “They were very respectful, very quiet, just going to support the president.”
Then, as they made their way to the Capitol, “Trump and his son whipped them up, saying, `You have to defend them,”’ Correa said.
Later, when he was in the House chamber, “I looked up, hearing people banging on those chamber doors.”
“I saw something I never saw before,” he said. “I saw Democratic congress members, Republican congress members, joining hands and helping the more senior members of Congress evacuate, helping ladies get through that area and getting ready to defend that castle in case of a breach. I saw unity, unity of purpose, unity of Americans.”
Then, security advised the congressional members to take cover, and if they sensed tear gas to not look up, Correa said.
“They said everybody get out, we’re about to use tear gas, there are tear gas masks under your seats,” Correa said. “I never knew we had tear gas masks under our desks, but I looked and there was a package. We grabbed one and we’re walking around with it. You could smell (the tear gas).”
As the mob tried to push its way into the chamber, Correa said there was a sense that, “We were ready to hold the line. I don’t know what would have happened but you saw Democrats and Republicans ready to kick some ass.”
Correa said he saw security “grabbing very priceless desks, probably antiques, using them as reinforcement to stop the doors from opening and the guns were drawn everywhere.”
Correa praised local police for their restraint.
“If they started opening fire on those crowds how many people would have died?” Correa said. “Thousands, if not hundreds.”
Correa was elected to Congress in 2016. He represents the 46th Congressional District, which includes Anaheim and Santa Ana, and parts of Orange.
“In my community, everyone knows someone affected. COVID-19 has hit us hard, and for months, families have struggled while our community attempts to contain the virus,” he said in a statement released Saturday. “Even in quarantine, I will continue to work for them and ensure my struggling neighbors in Central Orange County have the assistance they need to survive.”