Florida House of Representatives evacuated on coronavirus fears
March 9, 2020
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
The Florida House of Representatives chamber was evacuated around 3:45 p.m. today because some members may have had contact with a person at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). There are also concerns related to House members and staff who attended AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
Nationwide, several members of Congress have self-quarantined after being advised that they had contact with the person. Some of them have met with President Trump since CPAC.
We have seen reports that as many as 70 University of Florida students went to CPAC.
Because of HIPAA concerns, the infected individual has not been identified, so aside from high-profile people he/she remembers meeting, attendees have no way of knowing whether they were exposed.
The House resumed its session at about 4:45 p.m., and Rep. Cary Pigman, who is also a doctor, gave a statement: “House leadership learned a short time ago that we had possible exposures to COVID cases at two separate conferences, CPAC and AIPAC, and that we had some members in attendance… We quickly moved to isolate those members for a more thorough evaluation… Once we had the area cleared, we established that they did not have symptoms, and we made contact with the Department of Health and the Surgeon General to seek consultation… With an abundance of caution, we went on to do a surface decontamination of their workstation, their desk, and adjacent desks… When the Surgeon General arrived… we established that all of these members are at very low risk, and we are now going to release them to come back with us… There is no indication for testing, and in fact, testing in this situation, where there’s very low risk and… no mucus production, the test is very inaccurate… Because they had no direct contact to a known index case and because they have no symptoms, nor do they have to participate in social distancing.”