House ramps up COVID measures ahead of return

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The House of Representatives is establishing new coronavirus precautions as members prepare to return from vacation leave next week.

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Why this matters: Capital physician Brian P. Monahan warned offices Monday that the Capital Test Center’s positivity rate has increased from 1% to 13% due to the spread of Omicron.

  • In addition to asking offices to “adopt the maximum telework posture,” Monahan said employees should wear KN95 masks instead of cloth or surgical masks when in crowded places or indoors with others.

What are they saying: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a letter to members on Friday, “I have heard from many members expressing concern about a rise in COVID-19 cases related to the highly contagious Omicron variant.”

  • Hoyer declared that the House would “prolong the voting time and limit the number of votes taken on the floor” in an effort to reduce the number of members in the chamber at any given time.
  • The majority leader also urged members to wear KN95 masks and “abstain from congregating” on the floor. It is mandatory to wear a mask in the chamber.
  • Hoyer said, “I encourage you to take steps in your offices to promote the safety of everyone who works for the House and comes for official business.”
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Capital Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Also announced that House offices will begin receiving monthly allocations of KN95 masks to comply with CDC and Capital Physicians recommendations.

  • The CAO said that the KN95 will replace the previous allocation of surgical masks.

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