US House members may have been exposed to COVID-19 while sheltering from riot

The U.S. House Office of the Attending Physician is telling members of the U.S. House of Representatives to get tested for COVID-19 after facing possible exposure to the virus while sheltering from Wednesday’s riots in the Capitol.

In a message sent from the attending physician to House members and their staffs that was obtained by WTOP news partner NBC Washington, the attending physician said, “Many members of the House community were in protective isolation in [a] room locating in a large committee hearing space.”

“This time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others. During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with [the] coronavirus infection,” the message said.

NBC Washington’s Scott MacFarlane obtained the memo and told WTOP that medical officials are concerned about the proximity with which House members and staff had to gather in an enclosed space.

“They were in close quarters together, which is not best practice during a pandemic. So, with concern of exposure to members and ultimately their staffs with whom they interact, they’ve issued guidance, get a COVID-19 test, be aware that what happened Wednesday, in addition to everything else, might have a been a super-spreading event,” he said.

The attending physician went on to advise those who sheltered to monitor for symptoms daily, wear masks and social distance.

Some members of Congress huddled for hours in the large room, while others were there for a shorter period.

No further details were provided on which person has tested positive for the virus.

Some lawmakers and staff were furious after video surfaced of Republican lawmakers not wearing their masks in the room during lockdown.

Newly-elected Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was among those Republicans not wearing masks.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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