- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2020

A Senate staffer working for Sen. Maria Cantwell tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the Washington Democrat to close her D.C. office down for deep cleaning.

Other senators are also closing their D.C. offices too, allowing staff to telework to prevent further spread.

The staff member who tested positive has been in isolation since experiencing symptoms and had no known contact with Ms. Cantwell or other lawmakers, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

The senator’s D.C. staff will work remotely and will be tested if they experience symptoms or had contact with the ill staff member.

It is the first known positive case to hit Capitol Hill.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, also decided to close their D.C. office and have their staff work remotely.

“In response to reports that an aide from another Senate office has tested positive for COVID-19, Sen. Cruz has temporarily closed the D.C. office out of an abundance of caution to protect the health and welfare of staff, constituents, and colleagues in Congress,” read a press release from his office.

Mr. Cruz has self quarantined after interacting with an individual at the Conservative Political Action Committee who contracted the virus.

“Sen. Cruz feels healthy and is at home in Texas, where he is completing his self-quarantine today after a brief interaction 14 days ago,” the press release said.

Mr. Cotton said it’s important to be prudent to stop the spread of the virus.

“An aide in another Senate office has tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus; other congressional employees are likely to test positive in the days ahead,” he said in a press release. “The most sensible course of action for the public and the congressional workforce under the circumstances is for my staff to telecommute.”

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