Members, Staff in the Dark About Prevalence of Capitol Hill Coronavirus Cases

April 30, 2020by Chris Marquette, CQ-Roll Call (TNS)
Staffers and members who work in the Cannon House Office Building were not informed that 11 construction workers working on its renovation tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week. (Dreamstime/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Staffers and members who work in the Cannon House Office Building were not informed that 11 construction workers working on its renovation tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week, a troubling revelation because lawmakers and their staff returned to D.C. for a vote on a coronavirus aid package that week, according to three senior aides who work in the building.

One senior Democratic staffer found out from a DCist article that was published a day after her boss, several other lawmakers and staff were in Cannon on April 23, which was the day the House voted on a $483 billion COVID-19 economic assistance package.

“It was of concern to me and my congressman because we had a vote on Thursday and we were in our building — our office is in Cannon,” the staffer said. “There were also reporters doing interviews with members in the Cannon rotunda.”

There are now 17 construction workers involved in the Cannon project who have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a senior Republican House Administration Committee staffer. They are contractors working for the Architect of the Capitol’s Cannon renovation project.

Representatives for the Architect of the Capitol did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Cannon, built in 1908, is the oldest congressional office building and has been plagued by grave environmental, health, safety and operational issues.

A massive renovation project currently underway in Cannon began in January 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2024. Last June, the Architect of the Capitol said it expected the project, which was initially estimated to cost $753 million, to jump well over $800 million. Since construction began, the process has been delayed by the discovery of hazardous materials and a changing list of audibles requested by the Architect of the Capitol.

After learning of the positive cases last week, the staffer emailed the House Administration Committee and House leadership but received no response.

“I think members and staff shouldn’t have had to find out about this through the news,” the staffer said.

Another senior Democratic aide said he found out on Monday through Twitter.

“So we haven’t gotten any email from the AOC or the acting superintendent of the House office buildings,” he said. “The first time I saw that news was Twitter, which is weird because they’ve been updating us on other things with building procedures regarding COVID-19.”

Coronavirus cases have been prevalent at other agencies on the Hill, such as the Capitol Police.

As of April 27, the Capitol Police had 12 officers who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Eva Malecki, a spokesperson for the department. She said that eight of them have “fully recovered.”

———

©2020 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Health

Bicameral Coalition Endorses $908 Billion Bipartisan Proposal for COVID Relief
Congress
Bicameral Coalition Endorses $908 Billion Bipartisan Proposal for COVID Relief
December 1, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Republican and Democratic senators were joined by members of the House Problem Solvers conference Tuesday to endorse a $908 billion COVID economic relief bill they say should carry the nation into the early spring. The proposal, described by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as a... Read More

Thanksgiving Travel Figures Point to Surge in COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
Health
Thanksgiving Travel Figures Point to Surge in COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

Coronavirus infections are already reaching unprecedented levels throughout the U.S. Now with Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas and New Year's just around the curve, the question is: Just how much worse is the pandemic going to get? The latest travel data out Monday suggest that things are looking grim. Between... Read More

Moderna Seeks Clearance for COVID-19 Vaccine After Strong Test Results
Business
Moderna Seeks Clearance for COVID-19 Vaccine After Strong Test Results

Moderna Inc. requested clearance for its coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. after a new analysis showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19, with no serious safety problems. A Moderna spokesman said in a text message late Monday afternoon that its application for an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19... Read More

Hospitals Race to Set Vaccine Priorities for Health Care Workers
Health
Hospitals Race to Set Vaccine Priorities for Health Care Workers

Large hospital systems are grappling with how best to decide which health care workers will be vaccinated first for COVID-19, a daunting task when it's unclear which shots they'll get, how many and when they'll arrive. The first COVID-19 vaccine could be cleared for U.S. use as soon... Read More

Fauci, Birx Voice Dire Post-Thanksgiving Warnings on COVID
Health
Fauci, Birx Voice Dire Post-Thanksgiving Warnings on COVID

Top federal officials voiced dire predictions of a nationwide post- Thanksgiving surge in COVID cases on Sunday. "What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, (is) that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we're already in," Dr. Anthony... Read More

High Court Blocks NY Coronavirus Limits on Houses of Worship
Supreme Court
High Court Blocks NY Coronavirus Limits on Houses of Worship

WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus. The justices split 5-4 with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top