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US Senate staff member tests positive for coronavirus; Sherrod Brown closes DC office

The infected individual is not a member of Brown's staff, and neither the senator nor any of his staff members are showing symptoms.

WASHINGTON — The United States Congress has decided to shut down the Capitol building for visitors until April 1 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and now we are learning a staff member for one senator has tested positive for the illness.

The office of Sen. Sherrod Brown confirmed the latter news Thursday morning. While the person is not a member of Brown's staff and neither he nor his staffers have been showing any symptoms, the Ohio lawmaker has decided to "join Governor [Mike] DeWine in leading by example" and close his Washington, D.C. office.

"The health and safety of Ohioans is Senator Brown’s highest priority," Browns' office said in a statement. "Senator Brown and his office are following the recommendations of the CDC, D.C. Health Department, and Ohio Department of Health to practice social distancing."

Brown will now be working by phone, and will consult with medical officials to determine the best time to reopen the office at the Capitol. He and the rest of the Congress are scheduled to go on a 10-day recess shortly.

The coronavirus pandemic has so far killed 4,700 people worldwide, including 38 in the United States. Ohio is under a state of emergency following four confirmed cases.

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