The Senate is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill on Monday after a month-long hiatus, but the congressional attending physician said on Thursday that coronavirus testing capacity might not be enough to proactively test all 100 senators, reports POLITICO.
While Dr. Brian Monahan told GOP officials in a conference call that there is not sufficient testing to quickly test every senator, at the White House, any person meeting with President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence is tested.
Monahan said that test results in the Senate would take two or more days, unlike the rapid turnout in the White House.
Among the 100 senators, about half are 65 or older, an age group that is at higher risk of negative outcomes from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Democrats repeatedly voiced their concerns about the safety of Capitol Hill next week and demanded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for a plan.
“I have not yet seen, personally … a safety plan to protect those people who have to come back to the Capitol in order for us to do anything. Nor a plan to make sure that we are not spreading the virus ourselves or to the employees,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) on Wednesday.
To prepare for reconvention next week, senators and other persons are asked to wear masks at all times except for while giving a speech. Office buildings have been disinfected, and sanitizer and masks will be distributed. The number of senators on the floor during voting will be limited. Hearings will be arranged only in large rooms to ensure senators and staffers are kept in safe distance.