Nine Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, marking a substantial increase in cases within the department.
This comes weeks after Chief Steven A. Sund said in an email to the police union on March 20 that the entire force need not be tested.
“No USCP officers have been identified to be at high risk and no testing required,” Sund wrote back then.
Eva Malecki, a spokesperson for the Capitol Police confirmed the number of cases.
On April 9 — when there were eight confirmed cases — Malecki said the department is taking steps to protect the officers who guard the Capitol complex and maintain a physical presence on the campus while many congressional staffers work from home and members are mostly in their home states and districts.
“The USCP has adapted a progressive staffing posture aimed at preserving employee health. We have issued personal protective equipment (PPE) to all police officers, have enhanced our agency-wide telework capabilities, and are providing the option of temporary lodging for on-duty officers and civilian employees to address concerns about the potential of community transmission to family members,” Malecki said.
Officers concerned about transmitting the coronavirus to high-risk people they live with will be offered hotel accommodations by the Capitol Police.
“The Department is also delivering daily box lunches to on-duty officers and civilian employees to help employees practice responsible social distancing while on duty,” Malecki said. “In addition, USCP sworn personnel who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may receive priority testing.”
On April 2, Malecki noted that decisions about who gets tested for COVID-19 are made by state and local health departments or individual clinicians — not the department.
“The prevailing medical practice guidelines for testing individuals is that only individuals exhibiting symptoms are considered for testing,” Malecki said. “The guidelines for test prioritization are designed to avoid adding to the already overburdened healthcare community and the current, scarce critical testing resources available.”
Social distancing works
The Capitol Police made no arrests during the period of April 2-8, an unusual sight in the department’s weekly arrest report and another potential side effect of social distancing practices.
Rep. Mike Gallagher’s wife, Anne Horak, sold 34 stocks in January, worth between $104,000 and $685,000.
Horak, an actor, sold stocks across the market, including Alaska Air Group, Apple Inc., Chevron Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s Corp. and Microsoft Corp. The S&P 500 started tanking Feb. 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Wisconsin Republican came to Congress in 2017 and does not personally own individual stocks.
“Since being sworn in as a member of Congress, the congressman has had only mutual funds. After his marriage, his wife’s investments were also converted to mutual funds, which is what this filing reflects,” Jordan Dunn, a spokesperson for Gallagher, said.
Gallagher and Horak married in late September of 2019. Horak began selling off her stocks in mid-December.