Democratic Senate Staffer Tests Positive For Coronavirus

( – A Democratic staffer for Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, who works in the D.C. office, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The news was announced by Senator Cantwell on Wednesday and has triggered new discussion about whether it’s time to shut down Capitol.

This is the first instance of a D.C. staffer testing positive for the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China. Several politicians, including Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar, previously decided to self-isolate after being exposed to the virus during their visit to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Both politicians, however, did not exhibit symptoms and have not tested positive for the virus.

The staffer was quickly isolated once symptoms started showing, and Senator Cantwell announced that her Washington, D.C. office will close for the remainder of the week.

A notice published by Cantwell explained how the staffer did not have any contact with other senators.

“The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 had no known contact with the senator or other members of Congress,” the note read. “The senator is requesting that testing be done on any other staffers who have been in contact with the individual and show symptoms.”

The Hill reported that House and Senate tours are expected to be suspended soon, in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, particularly in the Washington Capitol.

“The two sergeant arms…are preparing to announcethat they will stop tours of the Capitol due to the coronavirus,” a source reportedly told The Hill.

House and Senate leaders are under increasing pressure to close down Capitol given the advanced age of many lawmakers.

COVID-19, which is the official name for the Chinese coronavirus, is particularly dangerous for elderly people or those suffering from pre-existing health conditions. Americans older than the age of 60 were urged on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid attending events and being in large crowds. For lawmakers in the Capitol building, it is impossible to avoid being in crowds owing to regular tours and the many people working there.