CHICAGO (CBS) — A member of Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s staff tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, as lawmakers and their staffs returned to Springfield after their two-week spring break.
The staffer tested positive on Monday as part of the required testing protocols for returning to work at the Illinois State Capitol, according to Jaclyn Driscoll, spokeswoman for the speaker’s office.
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The positive result was caught before the Illinois General Assembly resumed session on Tuesday, after lawmakers left Springfield for their spring break in late March.
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“Contact tracing was performed, and those who were in contact with the staff member are now quarantining, pending negative tests,” Driscoll said in an email. “The Speaker was not in contact with the staff member and continues to stress the vital importance of public health safety measures as the House of Representatives gets back to work for the people of Illinois. Thanks to the implementation of the U of I Shield testing, the Speaker’s Office was able to catch the positive result prior to the start of session today and it remains a requirement for all staff to be tested regularly.”
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Welch’s chief of staff, Jessica Basham, tested positive for COVID-19 in January while the Illinois House was meeting at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield. Two other people who were at the convention center at the time also tested positive. Lawmakers, House staff, and others who were at the Bank of Springfield Center at the time were advised to self-isolate for 14 days.