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Front-line workers in Capitol keep getting COVID-19

Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, 153 legislative branch employees have tested positive or are presumed positive

An area is set up at the Capitol Visitor Center for congressional members and staffers to be tested for the coronavirus on Nov. 17, 2020.
An area is set up at the Capitol Visitor Center for congressional members and staffers to be tested for the coronavirus on Nov. 17, 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Front-line workers on Capitol Hill are continuing to contract COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, 153 legislative branch employees have tested positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19, according to a Democratic aide for the House Administration Committee.

This cumulative total, as of Nov. 18, includes 59 employees from the Capitol Police, 57 from the Architect of the Capitol and 37 contractors working construction in the Cannon House Office Building.

This marks a jump of 30 cases since Roll Call reported on these numbers on Oct. 6. Since that date, 13 more Capitol Police employees, 15 more Architect of the Capitol employees and two more contractors have tested positive.

The coronavirus has permeated all of the congressional community, including lawmakers and staffers. Just this week, 87-year-old Senate President Pro Tempore Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, revealed he tested positive for the disease. Republican Reps. Dan Newhouse of Washington and Doug Lamborn of Colorado both said on Wednesday that they tested positive for COVID-19.

Recently, COVID-19 testing became more readily available, but still on a voluntary basis, for members and staff in the Capitol. The Democratic aide did not have data on positive COVID-19 cases among lawmakers or congressional staffers.

Katherine Tully-McManus and Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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