US Capitol Police officers test positive for coronavirus, as Senate returns

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More than a dozen U.S. Capitol Police officers have tested positive for coronavirus since late March, with at least two contracting COVID-19 just this week, Fox News has learned.

The two USCP officers who tested positive this week sent “about a dozen” into isolation due to potential contact issues. Fox News has learned that “nine of them have fully recovered” or been cleared to return to work. Since March, 14 USCP officers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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Sources told Fox News on Wednesday that the USCP had to clean a locker room in the Capitol after officers contracted coronavirus, and reviewed an issue with an outdoor police security kiosk on the House side of the Capitol grounds.

In a statement, the USCP said it “is working closely with the Office of Attending Physician and the Architect of the Capitol.”

“Our focus is on the health and well-being of our employees,” USCP said in a statement.

Sources told Fox News that the USCP has fared better with the number of coronavirus cases compared with numerous other departments, including the Metropolitan Police in Washington, D.C.

The new USCP coronavirus cases were diagnosed as the Senate returned to Capitol Hill to resume business on Monday. The House could return to session as early as next week, prompting concerns about the virus spreading on Capitol Hill.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., described Washington as a “coronavirus hotspot” and expressed concerns that having lawmakers shuttling back-and-forth between the Capitol and their home states and districts “creates a highly efficient virus spreading machine.”

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Alexander added that the concern is not “about protecting members of Congress,” but “about protecting the people members might infect.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., before returning to Washington, said the Senate would “modify routines in ways that are smart and safe” but needed to “honor our constitutional duty to the American people and conduct critical business in person.”

“If it is essential for doctors, nurses, health care workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers, and many other brave Americans to keep carefully manning their own duty stations, then it is essential for Senators to carefully man ours and support them,” McConnell said.

The House was slated to return this week as well, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., reversed course, amid lingering concerns about the number of coronavirus cases in the capital region.

Hoyer had been consulting with the Office of the Capitol Attending Physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, and decided to reverse course “after further discussion” and at “the doctor’s recommendation.”