Coronavirus Information and FAQs

Click here for the most recent issued guidance for House offices.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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 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.

Resources:


Prevention

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.

Update from the Attending Physician: New Pandemic Social Distancing and Daily Health Screening Implementation Guidelines for Congressional Offices and Work Centers (6/23/2020)

The following is a summary of guidance issued by the Attending Physician. Click here for the full guidance.

The Attending Physician has issued guidelines to provide for Pandemic Social Distancing and Daily Health Screening implementation in Congressional workplaces based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention best practices to minimize risk of coronavirus transmission in the workplace through use of social distancing measures and daily screening of employee health prior to reporting for duty. The guidelines reflect changes from Version 1.5 incorporating current regional transmission characteristics within our Washington DC metropolitan area and changes to prevailing public health guidelines. While COVID 19 disease features in our region have shown recent improvements in hospitalizations, new cases and deaths, the United States continues to experience a growing burden of disease. Continued vigilance to public health measures, testing, contact tracing, hand washing, contact surface cleansing, and social distancing measures remain essential.

  • Reduce the Number of Staff in the Work Center. Each Office (Member office, Committee group, Support office) should continue to commit to established social distancing guidelines when considering in office staffing plans. In circumstances where social distancing standards are unable to be met in an office space, emphasis should be placed on limiting the number of personnel physically present in a work center.
  • Use Telework or Staggered Schedules. Office Staff in excess of the maximum occupancy for the work center should be in a telework status. Telework status is among the best options to limit individual risk of disease from workplace encounters. Staff may be rotated between a telework and in-office status or individual staff arrival and departure work hours may be staggered as determined by individual Offices. Prolonged telework practices may be necessary for certain individuals who fall into conventionally recognized medical groups.
  • Use of Face Covers. Additional information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, international public health organizations, regional government officials, scientific organizations and private industry that better inform the best practices and the case for individual mask use. Unless required by specific Agency policy, the use of face coverings (approved surgical masks or cloth face covers) completely covering the nose and mouth is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to be worn when an individual is in an enclosed , publicly- accessible, Congressional public space with at least one other person for greater than 15 minutes.
  • Screen Visitors. Official Visitors should use hand sanitizer upon entry and prior to departure, and utilize a face covering for the duration of their visit. Those individuals who choose not to wear a face cover must follow the social distancing guidelines regarding 6-foot separation, limit their visit to less than 15 minutes, no physical contact with staff, appropriate use of hand cleansing and cough etiquette. Refusal to follow the social distancing guidelines should cause the visit to be immediately concluded. If a visitor is not adhering to a specific office policy, and the office manager is requesting that individual be removed from the office, the US Capitol Police will assist with this request. A face covering is REQUIRED for official visitors attending an event. Any person that appears ill (shaking chills, flushed appearance, vomiting, frequent coughing, nasal drainage, etc.) should reschedule their appointment for a future time when they are in good health. Offices should post clearly visible signage regarding these requirements within their office such as a reception countertop area or near an office entry door. In other public areas, signage will be provided by the Architect of the Capitol.
  • Maintain Meaningful Social Distancing Standards. Determine maximum occupancy of each work center or other space. Each office should determine the maximum number of individuals that can safely occupy a work center or other space and conduct their work where possible without exceeding social distancing standards (six-foot separation.) There are specific areas in the Capitol where fixed seating and structures are present (for example the Dais of the Senate Chamber and House of Representatives Chamber) where 6 foot separations are not possible due to the structure and seating of essential personnel whose functions cannot be performed at another chamber position. In that instance, use of a face cover by all seated Dais participants in addition to social distancing separation is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Visitors and attendees that exceed the maximum occupancy for the space should wait outside the space. Avoid gatherings, each office should limit activities within their work centers that cause individuals to aggregate together. Avoid crowding at dining facilities as well as communal food and beverage stations. Modify office layouts and flow patterns.
  • Health Monitoring of the Work Force. Participation in a health monitoring program is required for all Congressional employees unless impacted by a collective bargaining agreement or in those instances where employment is exclusively by telework or at an isolated/solitary occupancy duty station. Each Office should assign an individual as Work Center Monitor in each work center to coordinate results of the health screening inventory from all employees in their assigned work center on a daily basis. Employees should also self-monitor, measuring their temperature each morning at their home before reporting to the workplace, completing a self-assessment utilizing the Health Screening Inventory tool provided by the Office of Attending Physician, and reporting the results of their Health Screening Inventory to their designated Work Center Monitor before arriving in the workplace. Individual work centers will monitor for the appearance of respiratory symptoms such as frequent coughing or sneezing, and they will develop their own guidance with regard to actions consistent with the general approach that individuals who are visibly ill with a respiratory illness should not be present in the workplace until they have recovered. Upon returning to work, the Centers for Disease Control has requested whenever possible, Offices should not require a doctor’s note to return to the workplace after resolution of their symptoms but will rely upon the individual’s assurance that they have consulted with their primary care provider.

For House Offices

Guidance:

Resources:


Watch: Medical Equipment for your Home - Pulse Oximeters

Watch: Medical Equipment for your Home - Thermometers

Watch: Attending Physician Coronavirus Update (4/15/2020)

Watch: Coronavirus Update (4/8/2020)

Watch: Coronavirus Update and Homemade Mask Demonstration (4/7/2020)

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