Cruz, Cotton close Senate offices

Source: The Hill | March 12, 2020 | Jordain Carney

Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Thursday that they will temporarily close their offices after a staffer in Sen. Maria Cantwell’s (D-Wash.) office tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The decisions underscore the growing concern about a widespread outbreak on Capitol Hill, which got its first confirmed case on Wednesday night.

“In response to reports that an aide from another Senate office has tested positive for COVID-19, Sen. Cruz has temporarily closed the D.C. office out of an abundance of caution to protect the health and welfare of staff, constituents, and colleagues in Congress,” Cruz’s office said in a statement.

Cruz is currently quarantined after being exposed to an individual with the virus; the rest of his staff will work remotely. The senator’s office says he is healthy, and his self-quarantine is scheduled to end Thursday night.

Cotton added in a statement that he was closing his office “effectively immediately.”

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Neither Cotton’s nor Cruz’s office are in the same Senate office building as Cantwell — the GOP senators offices are in Russell, Cantwell’s is in Hart — but the decision underscores the growing anxiety on Capitol Hill. 

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