JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Rep. Don Young said he was hospitalized over the weekend after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and is now recovering at home in Alaska.

“Very frankly, I had not felt this sick in a very long time, and I am grateful to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers,” the 87-year-old said in a statement Monday. Young this month won reelection to Alaska's lone U.S. House seat, which he has held since 1973.

In March, Young referred to the coronavirus as the “beer virus” before an audience that included older Alaskans and said the media had contributed to hysteria over COVID-19. His campaign manager told the Anchorage Daily News at the time that the virus' impact is real and that Young was trying to urge calm.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.

Young said Monday he wanted Alaskans to know “that their Congressman is alive, feeling better, and on the road to recovery." He said he underwent treatment and was monitored at a hospital over the weekend. He had disclosed his COVID-19 diagnosis via Twitter on Thursday.

He called COVID-19 serious and encouraged Alaskans to follow federal health guidelines meant to guard against it.