There are now more than 100 Legislative Branch employees or contractors who have tested positive — or are presumed positive — for COVID-19 on Capitol Hill, a workplace that doesn’t require testing for members of Congress or staff.
The 103 front-line workers include 39 members of the Capitol Police, 31 Architect of the Capitol workers and 33 contractors assigned to the Cannon House Office Building renovation project, according to Ashley Phelps, a spokeswoman for House Administration Committee Republicans. The number of cases have increased by 22 since July 24.
The Capitol Police have granted administrative leave to 632 employees for COVID-19-related leave requests; 63 of those employees are still on paid administrative leave as of Aug. 24, according to Phelps.
The pandemic has hit the United States particularly hard. There are over 5.8 million confirmed cases in the country and more than 180,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Both numbers are the highest in the world.
Lawmakers and their staff have not been immune from the disease. Several members have tested positive for the virus and a member of Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan’s staff died from COVID-19.
Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — both of whom are physicians — have contracted the coronavirus. Other lawmakers who have tested positive include Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Louie Gohmert of Texas, Democratic Reps. Ben McAdams of Utah and Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, and several others.