Coronavirus Information and FAQs
Update from the Office of the Attending Physician (3.18.2020)
The Office of Attending Physician has been carefully monitoring recent developments involving two Members of the United States House of Representatives who have tested positive for COVID-19 who are ill, but in good condition. They are following CDC specified self-isolation guidelines at their homes.
My office has taken appropriate actions to identify any individuals who require additional monitoring for periods of quarantine. The office has adopted a very conservative guideline to identify individuals who may have come into contact with the ill Members during the pre-symptomatic period of March 13th. The office has additionally reviewed possible exposures among staff members and has assessed other areas involving the calendars of the affected individuals. The Office of Attending Physician has identified the offices and locations that were found to be at risk and these have been treated by the Architect of the Capitol, using CDC approved cleaning methods to ensure there is no residual risk to others.
Other instances where the affected Members may have briefly come into contact with other colleagues on the House Floor would be considered to be low risk exposures and no additional measures are required other than for them to report any illness should they become ill.
It reflects the pace of the COVID-19 disease throughout the United States and its presence here in Washington, D.C. that it has touched the community of the U.S. Capitol.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is responding to an “outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States.”
Information about the coronavirus is changing rapidly. For the most up to date and authoritative information about the coronavirus, symptoms, prevention and treatment, and the CDC’s response, please refer to the CDC website. The Committee on House Administration (CHA) recommends that Members and their staff monitor the official social media platforms of your state and local government and health officials for the most current information specific to your districts.
For additional information of particular interest to the House community, please visit the website of the Office of the Attending Physician. In particular, CHA encourages Members and staff to watch the four videos recorded by the Attending Physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, which answer frequently asked questions and address practical prevention techniques. Those videos are available below and on OAP’s website.
- Sign up for email or text updates from the CDC
- Latest Updates: COVID-19 Cases in the United States
- Office of the Attending Physician Website (House Intranet Only)
- OAP: Practical Mitigation Actions
For House Offices
CHA - Commuting Expenses (3/16/2020)
Speaker Pelosi - District Work Period Guidance (3/15/2020)
CHA and Ethics Committee Guidance on Coronavirus (3/15/2020)
CHA - Changes to Workplace Rights Training (3/15/2020)
Sergeant at Arms - Limited Access to Capitol (3/12/2020)
CHA - Coronavirus Update II (3/11/2020)
CHA - Coronavirus Update (3/6/2020)
CHA - Coronavirus Guidance (2/28/2020)
Decision Matrix provided by the Office of the Attending Physician (Updated 4/1/20)
Signage from CHA and OAP
Watch: Coronavirus Update (4/1/20)
Watch: OAP Guidance - Mask Usage (4/1/20)
Watch: OAP Coronavirus Update (3/13/2020)
Watch: OAP Coronavirus Update (3/6/2020)
Watch: Coronavirus Update - Office of the Attending Physician (3/2/2020)
Watch: Overview of the Coronavirus, guidance from the Attending Physician
Watch: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
The Office of Attending Physician (OAP) in concert with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, and state and local health departments continues to aggressively monitor and engage the current COVID-19 coronavirus threat. While general recommendations and updates may be found at the OAP website via Senate, House, Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Police intranet sites, the following mitigation actions are prudent to reinforce at this time. These suggestions reflect best judgement of an evolving circumstance that may require revision as more experience with the SARS-CoV-2 infection is gained.
- Members should adopt a stance that avoids close direct contact with other individuals, such as shaking hands, giving/receiving hugs, taking selfies, etc.
- Visitors should be queried about current symptoms of respiratory illness upon arrival. If visitors are ill, the meeting should be re-scheduled for an alternate time.
- Larger meeting events should be conducted via teleconference type means if possible. This is suggested for protecting the health of all participants.
- If Members attend large gatherings, they should enter/exit via stage entrances to avoid mingling through large crowds of people.
- Offices should prepare and activate telework procedures for Members or staff that develop signs of illness. Personnel should NOT report to work in this circumstance. They should remain home until 24 hours fever free without medication, or until cleared by their health care provider (additional restrictions for a COVID confirmed case to return to work are likely).
- CDC guidelines regarding home quarantine actions may be found at the following link:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/index.html
- Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time should occur immediately after touching high contact areas, such as doorknobs, railings, phones, etc.
- If soap is unavailable, Members should plan to have hand sanitizer readily available on their person as a substitute.
- Members, staff, and visitors should wash hands/use hand sanitizer before and after visitations and meetings.
- Offices should frequently wipe down hard surface high contact areas (telephones, keyboards, doorknobs, desks, railings, counters, computer mouse, etc.) with a standard home disinfectant product and allow to air dry per manufacturer instructions, especially following any potential contact with individuals displaying respiratory complaints.
What to do if you think you are infected: CDC Fact Sheet
- Continue to follow the prevention recommendations above to protect others
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Most importantly, if you find yourself in this situation, stay home (do not travel, go to work, or perform routine errands) and avoid contact with others except to seek medical care. Before any medical appointments, or ER visits, call ahead and inform your healthcare provider that you may be infected with 2019-nCoV. This will allow your healthcare team to make the proper precautions to ensure others do not get infected and provide you additional guidance.