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First COVID-19 case in California Capitol after staffer tests positive

Elevators in the state Capitol have been limited to one person per ride.
Elevators in the state Capitol have been limited to one person per ride and strict limits established on in-person seating for public hearings.
(John Myers / Los Angeles Times)

An Assembly employee tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the state Capitol, according to an email sent to legislative staffers Monday.

The positive case comes as the Legislature has taken unprecedented measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 inside the building, including health screenings and temperature checks at the entrances to the Capitol. Elevators have been limited to one person per ride and strict limits established on in-person seating for public hearings.

The Assembly staffer who tested positive for COVID-19 had been working in the building last week.

“The employee did not perform work in any office other than their own Capitol office suite, had minimal interactions with a co-worker, and wore a face covering while in the workplace,” Debra Gravert, the Assembly’s chief administrative officer, wrote in an email to employees Monday.

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The employee who tested positive is “complying with quarantine recommendations,” Gravert said.

The employee’s co-worker was notified and workplaces are being disinfected per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Gravert said in the email. The Assembly adjourned for summer recess on Friday, while the Senate will break July 2.

Both houses of the Legislature halted session in March to lessen the risk of the virus spreading in the Capitol. The Assembly returned May 4 and the Senate resumed May 11 in order to continue their legislative work and pass a budget, all while adhering to physical distancing and mask protocols.

In March, a Senate employee who works in a Southern California district office tested positive for COVID-19. That employee was unaware that they had been exposed and had continued to work, said Secretary of the Senate Erika Contreras. The constituent caseworker had not worked in the Capitol.


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