The novel coronavirus has hit Congress’ law enforcement agency, with eight United States Capitol Police (USCP) personnel testing positive, the department said Thursday.
“In the past three weeks, eight USCP personnel have informed the department that they have tested positive,” Capitol Police said in a statement to Fox News. “The health and well-being of USCP employees is the department’s top priority. We are implementing a number of proactive measures to respond to the pandemic.”
Capitol Police are charged with protecting the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and ensuring the safety of lawmakers, staff and visitors throughout the Capitol complex.
Several lawmakers have already been infected with the coronavirus and many others have had to self-quarantine at some point because of interacting with someone infected. Lawmakers and their staffs have continued working at the Capitol in varying capacities throughout the outbreak to negotiate and pass coronavirus relief packages, although public tours have stopped.
Capitol Police have made adjustments to staffing, issued Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all officers and enhanced agency-wide teleworking capabilities, the department said.
“[We’re] providing the option of temporary lodging for on-duty officers and civilian employees to address concerns about the potential of community transmission to family members,” USCP said in its statement. “The department is also delivering daily box lunches to on-duty officers and civilian employees to help employees practice responsible social distancing while on duty.”
Police and front-line first responders have been hard hit by the pandemic. In New York City, 2,103 uniformed NYPD members and 373 civilian members tested positive for the coronavirus, the department reported Wednesday.
About 20 percent of the NYPD’s uniformed workforce was out sick on Wednesday, which includes non-COVID-19 reasons, too.