Staffer in U.S. senator’s office tests positive for coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) arrives as the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump continues in Washington, U.S., January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A staffer in U.S. Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell’s office has tested positive for coronavirus, her office said on Wednesday.

The person has been in isolation since the onset of symptoms and has had no known contact with the senator or other lawmakers, her office said in the statement.

Cantwell will close her office in Washington, D.C., for the week and her staff will work remotely. She has also asked for additional staffers to be tested, according to the statement.

Cantwell represents the state of Washington, which has been one of the states hardest hit by the outbreak. The west coast state has reported more than a quarter of the national cases and 24 of the 32 deaths.

Since Sunday, at least seven lawmakers have said they would isolate themselves or shutter their offices after contact with people who tested positive for the virus, which can sometimes be deadly.

Congressional officials confirmed on Wednesday that the outbreak had led to a decision to pause tourist visits through the end of March, though the building would remain open for legislative business.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kim Coghill

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